Saturday, November 21, 2009

Magyk and Alcatraz

I don't know why I continually start books that are in a series. I tire myself out. I usually can't leave it at just one book. Yet, in the past few weeks, I've started two.

Magyk by Angie Sage is your pretty standard good magic vs. evil magic, mixed up identity fantasy. Although you'd think I'd get tired of these sorts of stories, I enjoyed this book. I'll probably read more of the series. It was a solid start to a series with good character development and enough of the mystery revealed at the end to satisfy, with more promise of story to come.

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson is a state award nominee for next year. For the first part of the book, I was rather annoyed and irritated with the book. It was so forced, so desperate to be witty and "shocking", it constantly detracted from the story. I kept thinking if Sanderson would just write the story, it would be so much better. Instead, he was channeling Lemony Snickett, trying to convince the reader that Alcatraz isn't a good person and "foreshadowing" bizarre events that he claims are normal. About the end of chapter 11, Sanderson starts focusing more on our main character as he comes to terms with some serious issues in his life. This part was so poignant and engrossing. Chapter 12 continued in that vein and as the story continued, the sarcasm became less and less annoying too. It gave me hope for the future books of the series and made me wonder less why this book was selected for the state award.

I did give in and get a membership to Audible. With the amount of travel time I have, it's been very nice. I actually listened to the last two books rather than read them. And I have another few books that I have to actually read when I'm at home. I've spent far less than if I had purchased those books on iTunes. I saved almost $15 purchasing the membership and the then discounted book. The next question is, do I bite the bullet for the one year membership? It saves a whole lot of money compared to the month by month membership, but if I don't get the month by month during the summer, when I'm less likely to listen to audio books, will that be worth it? Hmmm....

I'm highly enjoying a little bit of useless trivia book at night to relax before bed time. Mental Floss's "In the Beginning" has nice sized bites of stories/trivia that "knowledge junkies" like me adore. I'm thinking about giving up the library copy of it and getting my very own to keep. And some others of the Mental Floss library. If you haven't ever seen the magazine...check it out. It's wonderful!

I'm off to cheer on my beloved college football team who is playing well at the moment! Hopefully, they'll keep it up!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

AASL and good books

I got the privilege to attend the American Association of School Librarians conference in Charlotte, NC. I have had a wonderful time. I'm so excited and jazzed up to take so many things back to my library. It's incredible to dedicate so much time to people who do exactly what you do. My brain is full and I'm a bit on the tired side. But I have read a couple of books recently.

Tallahassee Higgins by Mary Downing Hahn is one that I read when I was a kid. I remember loving that book when I was a kid. (I also remember one about a girl who thought that Hitler had fled to Florida and now lived next door to her...but I was getting that one mixed up with this one.) I still enjoy this book today. Tallahassee is such a real little girl and you are rooting for her throughout the whole story. I did have one student stop in the hall and point at it when I was reading it and say, "That's a good book." What better endorsement can you get?

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix is the follow up book to Found. I think this series will be very good. It's easy to see how they are going to turned this into multiple books. We understand a little bit more about what's going on with the time traveler's and the mystery isn't as looming in this story. But when the kids, Chip, Alex, Jonah, and Katherine, end up in the 1400's they have to try and save their friends and repair time...all without causing any more difficulties in history. The book had good flow, good action, and transitions easily into a series where the books can focus on where each child came from and include history with a good story.

I also read the book Masterpiece by Elise Broach. It is a state award winner for next year and I downloaded it from Audible. It was entertaining and could get some students interested in art. It doesn't have a lot of depth, but it held my interest and probably will be fairly enjoyable for the kids. I've also downloaded and started Magyk, Septimus Heap book 1. It's my cup of tea...your typical fantasy book with a little bit of humor. I'm enjoying it.

I also have picked up a copy of Born Digital, which was the book that was selected for One Book, One Conference. It peeks my interest, but my brain hurts too much right now to actually read it. =) I have a lot of handouts to read from conference and websites to pour over. They created a wonderful online conference site that you could sign up for that gave you access to every session's handouts. In addition to the wealth of information I gained from the Twitter feed....It will take me forever to comb through it all!

I'm sure I will have more good stuff in the coming weeks. Between everything I've picked up here at conference and everything that will come in for book fair, I'll be picking up a lot of reading. As my brain has officially shut down and we are at the end of the conference, I'm leaving the Blogger's Cafe and moving my body. =) See you all soon!