May 3, 2008

but when will i sleep?

Barnes and Noble Bookfair. Just when I thought I'd settled on Harry for the month of May.

My kids performed their poems and stories at B&N tonight; as an added bonus, a percentage of all the night's purchases was donated by the store to the school. I know I just bought way too many books at our most recent Scholastic book fair, but 1) I've actually finished most of them, which is totally unlike me and should be rewarded! and 2) far be it from me to do my part to support the school in any way I can. My gauge for stopping the insanity: When my canvas Philosophy tote can't be lifted off the ground, it's time to stop. I admit to trying to hide behind a pillar from S while at checkout, but then reasoned that he might as well love me for who I am. I handed him the bag, which weighed him down for the rest of the evening.

May Polysyllabic Spree:

Truth and Beauty, Ann Patchett
That Extra Half an Inch, Victoria Beckham
Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Laurie Viera Rigler
The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way, Bill Bryson
Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell
The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson


Just finished No More Dead Dogs, a YAn by Gordon Korman. Loved it less than No Talking, but just a shade. Korman gives his characters a little more bite; I kind of like Clements' kids better - they're just as sharp as Korman's but they're less cynical. Or something. It's hard to explain. Still, Korman's drama club was hilarious, and all those letters to Julia Roberts were a great plot device. SIAS: Kids empowered by honesty and integrity (the kind that some teachers will mistake for disrespect) rock the school play, discover a jock can be a drama geek, and solve a completely ridiculous mystery. Yeah, everything was solid except for "the reveal" - the culprit was a real letdown.

I read my first Gordan Korman novel (Son of Interflux) years ago, when I actually could be considered a YA. I wasn't yet in high school; the humor was slightly beyond me. Korman's characters typically challenge authority in a manner reminiscent of Andrew Clements' - but Interflux was just plain weird (or so I remember from trying to read it in 6th grade.) That a teenaged son could (or would) orchestrate an effective showdown with his father's high-powered company just struck me as bizarre. No More Dead Dogs was awesome - a classic that I recommended to several of my struggling readers just today after reading the first two pages. In Language Arts we're talking about the value of a strong lead, whether in a story or an essay, and Dead Dogs has a great one.

My favorite openers of all time:

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle
Each Little Bird That Sings, Deborah Wiles
Charlotte's Web, E.B. White

Okay, veering back onto the topic, having finished Dead Dogs, I'm readier to jump back into Swindle, Korman's current title. It started okay, but my interest waned when Mr. "Swindle" went on TV with the Babe Ruth card and the light went on in Griffin's head: he'd been cheated. Enough stories about kids outsmarting idiot adults for awhile, I thought ... but then I realized, that's pretty much the bottom line of every YAn out there.

Also have got to get back into the "adult realm" (although I must say, I feel like I have to hide my newly purchased Water for Elephants and The Blood of Flowers because they are marked by Scholastic with an "Adult Bestseller" stamp, due to the fact they're sold at Book Fairs for children. Makes me feel like I'm carrying porn or something.)

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