After then end of my first semester of graduate school (!) I threw myself back into reading, knowing I only have a little more than a month before things pick back up again. So far, I’ve managed to take quite a chunck out of that long Goodreads list marked “to-read.” Here’s a few of my favorites.
Lockwood & Co. #2: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud – Last spring I heard about the first Lockwood book, The Screaming Staircase, and I knew I had to have it for my library. Though the series is aimed at upper middle-grade readers, the story was inventive, the prose intelligent, the characters rounded and mysterious. Not to mention, the story got a bit scary when the plot was at its thickest, which I am never opposed to. The second installment was, fortunately, just as good as the first. The books are set in England in a future where a Problem has arisen in the form of the dead. Hauntings dictate where people go and what they do, and no one goes out at night. The only people who can see the ghosts, however, are children. They have their own business agencies and adults hire them to come get rid of problematic, ghostly, visitors. I highly recommend the series!
Popular: Vintage Wisdom From a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen – There’s been a lot of hype about this memoir written by a fifteen year old girl about her eighth grade year. I was drawn to the book because 1) memoir, 2) a high school girl, aspiring writer, who is now widely read, and 3) Maya’s story takes place where her family lived in Brownsville, TX, where a brother-in-law of mine and his family happen to live. The book follows Maya through her school year, her personal life and friendships, and her quest to follow all of the advice about how to be popular put forth in a 1950’s book by model Betty Cornell. The resulting narrative is smart, funny, and honest – not no mention the bravery it must have taken for Maya to share her inner thoughts about her school, her friends, and her crushes with the world at large.
Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You by Amanda Thomsen – I confess: I wanted to read this book because of the illustrations. They’re just great! This book is funny and helpful, a combination that should be more common. Gardening season is over for we who dwell in the mitten, but Caleb and I are still dreaming about how great our now-drab yard is going to be next summer. The book provided a lot of great ideas and considerations in the least boring way possible – it would be a great addition to any gardener’s shelf. In other news the author also writes a blog with the same name as the book.
Coming up: writing prompts courtesy of Read and Write Kalamazoo at MLA 2014! AND…. NaNoWriMo is coming.