Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recommended reading list

A few weeks ago a friend asked me what book she should read next. I listed off a few that I love. These were from all genres. After a brief discussion, I told her that I'd publish a list on my blog of recommended reading. Below are some of my favorites. They are in no particular order. They are fairly recent books. (Within the last 10 or so years.)

1. The Giver-- Lois Lowry-- YA--The story is set in a Utopian society where memories of anything bad have been eradicated. -- Fantastic book. An easy read and one of my all time favorite to teach. There are some shocking, disturbing parts, but all in all, it's a great book for discussion

2.My Sister's Keeper--Jodi Picoult--General Fiction-- A young girl believes she has been bred as extra parts for her sick sister and seeks medical emancipation. -- Huge twist at the end. Picoult always keeps the story moving and the reader on edge.

3. Twilight series--Stephenie Meyer--YA-- Vampires--To those who don't like anything having to do with vampires, stay away. It's a love story that spans four books. I personally loved the first one, (Twilight) kind of liked the second (New Moon), loved the third (Eclipse) and hated the fourth (Breaking Dawn). Once you read one, you have to read them all.

4. The Hunger Games series-- Susanne Collins-- YA--LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book and it's sequel, Catching Fire. The third comes out next summer. The story is set in a futuristic society that seems as though it has fallen into the past. Poverty, government control, etc. The government uses the annual hunger games to remind the populus of it's role in their daily lives. Each year at the reaping, one boy and one girl are chosen by a lottery to play in the hunger games. It is a fight to the death that is televised to the entire nation. The last man or woman standing is given riches, housing, food for their family and celebrity status whether they want it or not.

5. Shiver-- Maggie Stiefvater--YA-- For all you vampire fans who loved Jacob, here is a werewolf story for you. It's not exactly what I expected. It did have a little bit of a love story, but the story extended beyond that. If you like a good solid story that's just for fun. Try it.

6.The Chosen One--Carol Lynch Williams--YA-- This one was given to me as a gift and was very interesting. It's set in what some would define as a cult group. One young girl of 16 is chosen to be the ninth (or so...I can't remember the exact number) wife of her 60 year old uncle. Enough said.

7.Luxe-- Anna Godbersen--YA--Set in Old New York, this story follows Elizabeth Holland and her family as she discovers what it means to follow her heart. Will she marry the rich and handsome womanizer, Henry Schoonmaker, or will her sister steal him from under her nose? Or maybe he will fall for her best friend, the one who is trying to undermine her wedding plans. It's too bad that she isn't in love with Mr. Schoonmaker, which is good news for Will, the stable hand, that is, if Elizabeth ever builds up enough courage to tell him she loves him. To add to the mix is the secret that the Holland family has secretly lost their fortune. That's why Elizabeth's mom has arranged this wedding to Henry.

This story added some twists and turns, but it was a little predictable. I have to admit that I would have been disappointed if it had not fulfilled my predictions. For those who wonder, there was sex, but it was tastefully done for the YA crowd without specific details. This is appropriate for the older YA readers out there.

8. Just about anything by Sarah Dessen--YA-- Dessen writes easy to read chick books. Just Listen, Someone Like You, The Truth About Forever are just a few.

9. Uglies Series-- Scott Westerfeld-- Again this is a futuristic society book. (I seriously don't go looking for these type. They just find me.) This time it's a place where at age 16 the young people are sent to pretty town to have plastic surgery to make them all look like super models. The catch is that they also are turned "Bubbly" (aka, stupid) This is what Tally Youngblood plans until she finds out about a group of uglies that decide being pretty isn't what they want. The series starts with Uglies, then Pretties, Specials and Extras.

10. Tangerine--Edward Bloor-- YA-- The main character is legally blind but still plays soccer. It follows his troubles through school with the lingering question of how he became blind hanging over the entire story.

I'll stop there for today. I'll add a list of titles without explanations for those of you who can look up the explanations on your own. :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Poison Ink--Christopher Golden

Poison Ink by Christopher Golden had a great concept to start: A group of girls plan to get a tattoo to bond them in friendship, but all goes wrong; hence the title. It intrigued me. I liked the idea of something that we do to ourselves warping us into people we aren't, and for a while, I really liked the story... until the end.

What started out as a fascinating look into the definition of friendship ended in a twisted gore-fest. Now, please don't get me wrong. I have no problem with gore or twisted stories in books. Usually that makes for a more interesting story. This even had a little bit of magic in it, which, though I don't look for it, if it shows up doesn't scare me off or anything. But this went from a story that could have taught a lesson on the true meaning of friendship and what it means to stand by your friends to, well, like I said before and for lack of another description, a gore-fest.

Maybe my problem is that I believe that every book, no matter what the subject, should have some redeeming value in a lesson it teaches. This can come through things that the characters do or don't do and the consequences that come from those decisions or actions. Books should make us think twice about ourselves as people, as friends, as daughters/sons, as mothers/fathers as girlfriends/boyfriends and wives/husbands. If a book in some way doesn't make you question your motives or actions, then in my option it doesn't do it's job.

That's not to say, of course, that a book can't be written for entertainment purposes only. Many are, but still those books can still have something more to give than a basic story. Take a few examples: Green Eggs and Ham-- Lesson: Try something new; you may like it. Circue du Freak 1-- Lesson: Don't steal, don't judge people by the way they look, things may not be what they seem on the surface. Wake--Lesson: Our dreams can often hide our deepest fears or our greatest desires. Do you see where I'm going with this?

No matter what the story, there is always something lying "Between the lines." :) In my own opinion, Poison Ink falls short of this necessary goal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I know that Wringer is a middle level book, so it's a bit young to keep my full interest, but I have to admit it was really good when it comes to dealing with peer pressure.

I thought the character was realistic in the way he was swept into the group of boys who are bullies. It's either bully or be bullied. He finds that out the hard way. What I found more interesting is the fact that in the end, he was able to stand up to his friends and for himself.

How often do we know what is right, only to hold back our thoughts from others? How often do we know what is right and just plain refuse because of the repercussions that will arise against us? I think about all the times I could have spoken out in different situations, either to stand up for myself or someone else or even just to have done the right thing, but instead I took the coward's way out.

It's taken me thirty years to learn, and I still find myself, again and again, trying to take the easy way out. It's human nature to do as little damage to self as possible. But I've learned over the years that what we see as the easy way out, never is. It always causes more problems in the long run.

So, girls, take advice from someone who knows from personal experience: It is much better to stand up now. Stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for someone else in trouble. Stand up for what you know is right. Do the right thing no matter how hard it may seem at the moment. You'll become stronger women because of it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Lovely Bones

Well, I've decided to use this blog not only to discuss the books you are reading as a group but to also give thoughts on anything I've been reading.

I finally got my hands on The Lovely Bones, which had been recommended to me by a few different people. It was supposedly controversial because of some mature and shocking content. That information didn't bother me one bit. However, I hated the book.

It started off o.k.. Really got into the mystery and murder of one said character, and the conflict surrounded the murder investigation. But by the end, the conflict had changed. No longer was it about finding out who done it and punishing the bad guy (BTW, I do not think that the bad guy always has to be punished to make a good story.)but instead changed directions to follow how the family was coping with the death.

I don't even mind having a sub conflict, but the first was left entirely in the dust until the last chapter where the resolution was a total cop-out. (This is hard to write without giving away vital information.)I was not impressed by this story. It was not a quick read as I had anticipated, nor did the story really move. It almost seemed like there was too much going on, too much of a focus on too many characters.

Maybe I was most disappointed because I stayed up half the night reading and was not satisfied at all with the outcome. I feel like I wasted time and energy.

I'm not disappointed by many books, but this one didn't do it for me. My apologies to the author.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I'm finding it difficult to post my thoughts because I read it nearly a month ago, so my assignment for you girls is this: Post your initial thoughts. This can be anything while you're reading or even after the book is done. If you write after you've finished, please put a disclaimer saying that there may be spoilers. That way anyone who hasn't finished the book can skip over your comment.

Maybe if I read your thoughts, it will spurn some of my own.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wake questions

Hello again all,
I thought I'd start out with a question to get the juices flowing about Wake, by Lisa Mc Mann.
The question is this:
If you were sucked into someone's dream, whose would it be and what do you think you'd see?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just the beginning

Hello all. I'm new to this blogging stuff, so bear with me as I learn a thing or two. My goal is to continue the book club Read Between the Lines started at Panama Central school in 2008. Since I'm home now, I still want a way to be connected, so here I am learning how to blog. It's fascinating all the things we will do for human (or not so human) contact.

I'm going to start with a suggestion for next month's book club meeting: Wake by Lisa McMann. If we decide on this or any other book, we can use this blog as a discussion format. I think I should begin with the following question: will you all use this format to discuss the books? I'm not saying this has to replace your monthly meeting, but it should be used in addition to that.

Secondly, please post all book recommendations so we can vote on them. I think I can create a poll option on here somewhere. As soon as I figure that out, we can use it to vote on books we want to do.

Whatever you decide to do, be it blog or meetings or whatever, just keep reading.