Friday, July 30, 2010

And We're Hopping...

Welcome Hoppers!  The Friday Book Blogger Hop is a chance for book bloggers to visit new blogs and spread the word about their own.  Hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books.  Visit her blog for rules!

This weeks question-who is your favorite "new-to-you" author?

My favorite new-to-me author has been around a long time, Octavia E.Butler.  She's a black, female, science fiction author, making her rather unique in the science fiction world.  So far I've read and reviewed The Fledgling, Wild Seed, and Mind of My Mind for my adult blog, Book Addict Reviews.



Thanks for "hopping" by!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane

While cleaning out bookshelves in preparation for a trip to my parents' place (and therefore the certainty of bringing home a box full of books graciously donated to me by my mother), I came upon Shutter Island.  It perhaps says something about my current ability to stay up on pop culture that I had to ask my 16 year old daughter, "Hey, didn't they make a movie called Shutter Island?  What's it about?",  to make sure that my book and that movie were the same.  Once she confirmed (so at least I'm not completely unaware!), I decided it would be my next read, on the very remote chance I might actually make it to the movies.

Shutter Island tells the tale of US Marshall Teddy Daniels.  He and his partner Chuck Aule were called out to Shutter Island, a hospital for the criminally insane, to investigate the escape of a prisoner named Rachel Soldano.  It is in the years after World War II, and Daniels feels haunted by his experiences liberating the concentration camps.  He is also mourning the death of his wife, Dolores, two years before in a fire.  While he was sent to the island to investigate the escape, he jumped at the assignment because Shutter Island is the place where Andrew Laeddis, the man that Daniels believes started the fire that killed his wife, is being held.  Daniels plans to execute his own justice on Laeddis-the ultimate justice.

I've never read Lehane before, though I did see the movie of Mystic River.  I suppose that should have prepared me for the dark nature of the story.  Shutter Island is seriously creepy!  I mean, take an old fort on an isolated island, add criminally insane patients who have done unspeakable things, mix in a hurricane, marinate it in reminders of the horrors of the camps, and you create a pretty twisted sort of mood.  At times this thriller feels almost supernatural, but in the end we discover just how real it is.

I found the discussions on the state of psychiatry at that time in our history really interesting.  Remember, the setting was somewhere 15 or so years in advance of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,  so conditions could be pretty deplorable.  Dr. Cawley, the chief of staff, had some pretty liberal ideas about the barbarity of lobotomies and shock therapy, but he was in the minority.  Daniel's reflections on liberating the concentration camps, and the things he had seen in the war, were also really interesting.  I'm not sure I've ever read a piece of fiction that told the story of the camps from the liberators point of view, and while that was not necessarily central to this story it did add to the general mood.

I am not surprised that they made a movie from this novel.  Lehane's writing style is pretty cinematic, with concise descriptions, evocative settings, and emotional moments that just beg to be played out on the big screen.  When I teach writing to my students, we work a lot on a concept called " show, don't tell", and if Lehane were in my class he'd get a big fat A+.  Even the necessary background information on the debates going on in psychiatry at the time of the novel are written in such a way that they create a picture for the reader-though I suppose it helps to have read/seen works like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to get a true sense.

Saying any more about the plot would only lead to major spoilers and angry readers, though I will say that the resolution of the book did remind me of another movie, and if you've read Shutter Island I bet you know which one!  If you haven't, and you like creepy thrillers, you should!

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope that you all had a successful reading week, as I did!

Books read last week-




The Missing, Book One:  Found, Margaret Peterson Haddix
(Review Coming Soon on Second Childhood Reviews)







I just started Shutter Island by Dennis Lahane.  I was cleaning out bookshelves last night in preparation for visiting my parents in Michigan (and likely coming home with a new box of my mom's cast-aways), when I realized that I had the book version of that movie getting all the good buzz.  This week I will also try to get to:

Bait, by Alex Sanchez (YA)
Life As We Knew It, Susan Beth Pfeffer (YA)
The Battle of Jericho, Sharon M. Draper (YA)
The Law of Similars, Chris Bojalian
In a Perfect World, Laura Kasischke

Life As We Knew It and In a Perfect World are my book club's books for August, so those are for sures.  Everything else is subject to change without notice! One of the advantages of not getting those fancy ARCs from the publishers is I don't have any obligations to read anything!  Of course, I also don't get ARCs...oh, well, life is a series of trade-offs sometimes!  The week after this one I have a much more ambitious list.  I should be able to get lot of reading done sitting on the beach/boat in the lovely Sleeping Bear National Forest area of Michigan!



Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oh, Uncle Stevie, How I've Missed You!

Dear Uncle Stevie,

I don't know how it happened, but somehow we lost touch for a few years.  I mean, you were always my favorite uncle, and I made sure to read every one of your stories as soon as it came out.  I even spent an amazing eight weeks or so traveling with you and Roland Des Chaines through the wilderness chasing the man in black (that's right-I read all seven books in a row).  After that, you mysteriously disappeared from my thoughts (perhaps there was something that didn't want me to remember!).  Did I know that something was missing from my life?  There must have been hints, little tugs at my consciousness-why didn't I pay attention?!?

We can give credit for my sudden reemergence into your world to a book blog challenge.  I was cruising through my book blogs, randomly reading here and there the witty, insightful words of my fellow bloggers, and suddenly I stumbled upon it-the Stephen King Challenge.  Did you know that there are otherconstant readers out there trying to read every word you ever wrote?  I thought, "Now there's a challenge I've already completed, since I've read all of his books!" (Please mark the smugness in my tone.) But then, I looked at the list of your complete works.  And there were five, count 'em, FIVE titles on there I had never even heard of, much less read!  Oh, clearly there were dark forces at work, if I could somehow miss FIVE of your masterpieces.  I needed to read my Uncle Stevie, and I needed to do it NOW!

So, I just finished Duma Key, and I am as happy as a pig in, well, you know...Don't get me wrong, I love all of your books, but my favorites are the straight-up ghost stories, and this one is a doozy!  Poor Edgar-losing his right arm in the accident like that.  But, it did give him that amazing power.  It reminded me a little bit of the painter on Heroes, but without all of the Sylar-is-trying-to-steal-my-power, will-I-be-good-or-bad drama!  The descriptions of the island itself were wonderful, and even with all of the craziness going on there I still wanted to see it!  I wanted a Big Pink of my own to hole up in and escape from the rest of the world.  When Edgar meets Wireman and Elizabeth, and starts to learn about her family's tragic history, I was swept away in the creepiness of it all.  And unlike certain TV shows that want to make everything as confusing as possible before revealing that everyone is really dead (yeah, I'm still a little bit bitter), your story wraps up so perfectly, with everything accounted for-so satisfying!  Thank you, Uncle Stevie, for another fabulous tale.  How I've missed you!

Your (nearly) constant reader,

Heather

Friday, July 23, 2010

Welcome Book Blog Hoppers!

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!  
The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!  And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added!  We get over 200 links every week!! 
To add your own link, go to Crazy-for-Books


This week's blogger question: TELL US ABOUT THE BOOK YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING!

I am reading Duma Key by Stephen King right now. I was horrified to discover that somehow I had missed three or four of his books.  I'd always prided myself on having read every, single one.  I guess my book supplier (known as Mom) must have stopped reading him, since so much of what I read comes from her.  At any rate, I'm loving it as usual.  I love the way he writes his characters, and the story is pretty intriguing as well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mind of My Mind, by Octavia Butler

I think that the reason that I like fantasy and science fiction so much is because I am so intrigued by the way the author's mind works.  I mean, when I read Neil Gaiman or Sheri S. Tepper, I marvel at the places their imagination takes them.  To take our ordinary world and change it into something marvelous/wondrous/horrible/terrifying/magical takes skill.  Since so much fantasy and science fiction these days seems targeted at a younger audience, I'm always glad to find mature, thoughtful stories.

And this week it is Octavia Butler that I am thanking the sci fi gods for.  I read Wild Seed, the first book chronologically in her Patternist series earlier this week, and last night finished Mind of My Mind Mind of My Mind takes the story of Doro and Anyanwu and fast fowards it 150 years.  Anyanwu and her family are now living in California, and Doro continues to pay visits to the only other immortal he's ever found.  On this trip, he is planning to take Mary, one of his many experiments in creating telepaths, and marry her off to Karl, another of his creations.  She is about to go through her transition, the time when those with latent telepathic abilities either learn to control their talent, or go crazy or die in the attempt.  When Mary transitions, Doro finds that her power is new, different-and potentially dangerous to him.  Since this is a fairly rare occurrence in his almost 4000 years of life, he does not kill her, but watches to see what she will do.  She is at the center of the Pattern-a psychic link to other strong telepaths.  While she does not control the Pattern itself, she can control the people in it.  She soon builds an enclave of other powerful telepaths, all of whom answer to her.  Soon enough, Doro realizes his mistake in not killing her when her new power first asserted itself.

As I was reading I was alternately drawn to the mission that Mary took on, and terrified of what it would mean if it was real.  Her telepaths can control anyone not a telepath, forcing them to do things while making them so content with their servitude they think they are doing them out of their own free will.  This is slavery of a different sort-one with fairly benign masters, assuredly, but slavery nonetheless.  While Mary has a symbiotic relationship with her telepaths, they all use the "mutes", as they call non-telepaths, to support them in creating a small empire, while helping them stay hidden from the rest of the world.  This reminds me of the relationship between the Ina and their symbionts in Fledgling, the first of Butler's books I discovered.

Mary and her "First Family" of telepaths (those she drew to her first), are at times sympathetic characters, and at times ruthless killers.  Mary's mission to save latents from themselves seems admirable, but when they do not abide by the rules of her little community they will kill them without much remorse.  It seems that ordinarily, telepaths cannot abide each other's company, since they cannot abide mind to mind contact with each other.  They also cannot abide children, because no one, not even Mary, can completely block the psychic noise that constantly streams from young minds.  This is another reason that they need the mutes-if their "race" is to continue, they must have someone who can take care of the children without abusing or killing them.  Butler blurs the line between good and evil, highlighting the relative nature of so many of the rules of human society.  She also examines the very idea of race as a construct, since Doro has been trying for millenia to create a new "race" of people like himself of which he can be a part.  Color has nothing to do with it in Doro's worldview-talent is the great dividing line, the one thing that determines a person's worth.  There are two more books in this series, and I almost don't want to read them, because then I will have read them-I like thinking about the pleasure I will have in the future from this always surprising, though provoking author.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wild Seed, by Octavia E. Butler

Sometimes you find something amazing in the most random ways.  I first discovered Octavia Butler while waiting in a mall.  I haven't really been a mall person since I was about 17, but it was Christmastime, and I suppose malls are unavoidable.  While listening to a band play holiday tunes in the center of the mall, I noticed a small bookstore I had never noticed before.  Well, the band was pretty good, but they had nothing on a store full of books.  Walking in, right on the first shelf I saw, was the book Fledgling, which promised me a vampire story.  Having barely recovered from my Twilight daze, I eagerly picked it up.  Little did I know how different this writer and this story wold be from anything I had ever read before.  When I finished Fledgling, I knew that I needed to read more of Octavia Butler's brilliant prose!


Wild Seed is the first book in Butler's Patternist series.  Well, the first book chronologically in the arc of the story, though not the first to be published.  Wild Seed tells the story of Doro and Anyanwu, two immortal beings.  Doro is amoral, surviving by casting off and taking new bodies at will.  He has traveled the world for thousands of years, finding others with special talents and breeding them to try and create someone like himself.  Anyanwu is a shape-changing, self-healing mother who has lived over 300 years as the story begins.  Her people revere her as a healer-and fear her as a witch.  When Doro senses her while traveling through Africa, he is drawn to her as to no other before her.  While Doro wants to use her for his own purposes, and seeks to control her, Anyanwu wants nothing more than to protect her people, her grandchildren and great-grandchilren.   From Africa to the American colonies, the story of Doro and Anyanwu is one of lust, power, and destiny.

Despite the amoral nature of Doro, one can't help but feel sympathy for a being that has lived for thousands of years, watching everyone he has ever cared about die.  One of his sons warns Anyanwu that without a companion Doro will lose everything that makes him human.  What is it to a being like Doro to take one life or a hundred, since he has seen thousands come and go like so much smoke in the wind?  The irony is that while he feels desperately lonely, he is not really comforted by the people he finds and manipulates.  They fear him too much to be true companions for him.  Anyanwu, on the other hand, needs to be surrounded by her family, those descendants of her descendants that give her a reason to continue living.  As much as she comes to resent Doro, her irony is that he gives her the reason to keep herself young and healthy.  When you are the only two immortal people in the world, who else do you have but each other? 

The issue of race is also present in the book, as it always is in Butler's work.  The fact that Anyanwu is a black African brought to America on a ship in the late 1600s is not coincidence, and regardless of her actual legal status as free, she feels the figurative shackles of slavery in the way that Doro is able to manipulate her.  Throughout the book, Butler points out the issue of race in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.  Doro will only take white bodies when traveling through the American south.  Anyanwu herself becomes a white male landowner to protect her people, white and black, from suspicion.  The fact that Doro uses his talented people as breeding stock much as white slave owners bred their slaves for certain traits is not an accident, I'm sure.  This novel is thought-provoking, well-paced, and so intriguing that I plan to read the next book in the series immediately.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

 Thanks to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through Books for hosting this weekly meme, letting book bloggers share what they've been reading.  I tell you, my reading has become so much more diverse since doing this whole book blogging thing!  Thanks to my fellow book bloggers for the inspiration and book ideas! (And no, you're not seeing double-if you read this post at Second Childhood Reviews, that's because it's same blogger, different blog, and I'm cheating this week!)

Another week gone, another week closer to going back to school.  Ah, well, at least I had a good reading week!



Children's/YA Books Completed This Week:




Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
(Review coming soon on Second Childhood Reviews!)

Adult Fiction Completed This Week:




Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler
(Review coming soon)

Books I'm Hoping to Get to This Week:

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli (YA)
10 Things I Hate About Me, by Randa Abdel-Fattah (YA)
Mind of my Mind, by Octavia E. Butler

...and whatever else I decide to pick up off the shelf.  After a month of reading for class, I want to keep my options open!

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another Thing to Fall, Laura Lippman

All Tess Monaghan wanted was a morning of sculling.  But while rowing at sunrise, she literally runs into the cast and crew of Mann of Steel, a TV show being filmed right there in her beloved Baltimore.   After being pulled out of the water, she expects to be scolded for ruining their shot.  Instead, she is offered the job of watching their young star, difficult to manage star, Selene.  Seems there have been some incidents on the set that lead the producer to believe that someone is trying to get to Selene and stop the production.  While Tess is not sure that being babysitter to a spoiled starlet is really her thing, they offer her almost twice what she usually charges.  It's not long before Tess is drawn into both the stars personal drama-and a murder.  With the help of her best friend Whitney Talbot, and rescued street kid Lloyd Jupiter, Tess finds out what is really going on behind the scenes of Mann of Steel.

In Another Thing to Fall, Laura Lippman has once again provided the perfect popcorn book.  The characters are engaging, the action of well-paced, and the mystery provides a small challenge to the brain without too many clues to have to keep straight.  She does trot out all of the usual Hollywood cliches about spoiled actresses and almost has-been actors trying to make a come-back and egotistical producers who expect everyone to kowtow to them.  But hey, for all I know Hollywood really is like that-it's not like I'm hanging out with the A-Listers!  I guess the reason that those cliches gets trotted out is because the rest of us peasants find something amusing/entertaining/comforting in thinking about the stratospherically famous as being not-so-perfect.  All in all, this book was a great summer read-very satisfying brain candy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday!  I am still deep into a children's literature class, so all of my titles this week are young adult titles.  But, my big book project is due to day, so I'm looking forward to catching up on some of the new books I've been getting that I've had to put aside.








Almost Perfect, by Brian Katcher (Review coming soon!)


Hello Groin, by Beth Goobie (Review coming soon!)

This coming week I am hoping to get to:

Another Thing to Fall, by Laura Lippman
Wild Seed, Octavia E. Butler

I will also get to the following YA titles:

Bait, by Alex Sanchez
Ten Things I Hate About Me-Randa Abdel-Fattah

Have a great reading week, everyone!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Welcome Book Blog Hoppers!

Welcome to Book Addict Reviews!  I hope you find everything to your satisfaction!  This great meme is hosted by Crazy-for-Books to give bloggers a chance to find each other.


Tangent:  Does anyone else think it's strange that the editing program used by Blogger does not recognize "blogger" as a word?  But I digress...


This week we have a question to answer, and that question is...

Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!



Well, this is a tricky question!  There are so many authors I like for so many reasons.  There are my favorite authors from when I was a kid, my favorite science fiction authors, fantasy authors, etc...My favorite authors for serious literature and my favorite authors for popcorn book (books that, like popcorn, don't have much substance but are still oddly satisfying).  So, I'm going to be completely random and select the first three that pop into my head...

Margaret Atwood-I love her because her books are always full of poetry.  Her use of language is so fluid and descriptive.  She really just finds the perfect turn of phrase.  Also, the whole feminist literature thing is pretty much a turn on for me.  Reading The Handmaid's Tale in college literally changed my life, not in some corny self-help way, but just in the way I looked at the politics of marriage and reproduction.



Stephen King-His books are the best brain candy EVER!  I started reading him in high school, and when I read Carrie and Pet Semetary I found out how delicious it is to be scared by a story.  I really think that his characters are some of the best written in popular fiction, and way more relateable than some characters in books considered more high-brow.  Even if he'd only written The Stand and the Dark Tower series, he'd be my hero, but the fact that he is so prolific makes him a great writer to love!



Jen Lancaster-Jen is the only non-fiction author who's books make me squeal with glee!  I love her sense of style, her sense of humor, and her sense of self.  Bitter is the New Black made me laugh so hard I wet myself (I won't tell you if I mean that literally or not!).   Like my other friend crush, Kathy Griffin, I am just sure that Jen and I are destined to bump into each other on the streets of Chicago and become fast friends and she will invite me back to her house to meet Fletch and the animals and we will trade witty, sarcastic remarks about pop culture all night long (OK, I know that sounds stalkerish, but I promise there are no restraining orders in my future).

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez

Title:  Rainbow Boys
Author: Alex Sanchez
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Pages:  233
Genre:  Realistic Fiction
Age Level:  9th Grade and Up





Plot Summary:
Rainbow Boys tells the story of Nelson, Kyle and Jason.  Nelson is the stereotypical gay male-a little swishy, with multiple piercings and multi-colored hair.  Kyle is a quiet, sweet boy, a swimmer on the high school swim team.  Jason is a popular jock, deeply in the closet.  When the novel begins, Nelson is completely out to everyone, including his very liberal mother who is the chairperson of the local chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).  Kyle is out to Nelson and the other teens in their GLBT support group, but not to his family.  He also is deeply infatuated with Jason, looking at his picture in the yearbook so often the page is fading.  Jason is dating Debra, and trying with all of his might to pretend that he is not having feelings for other boys.  When the other guys make gay jokes, or harass Nelson (whom they call Nelly), he laughs or turns away.  Finally he gets up the courage to go to a meeting of the support group, and is horrified to find Kyle and Nelson there.  When he runs, Kyle follows him.  The two boys strike up a friendship when Kyle agrees to help him with his math.  Slowly, as Jason spend more time with Kyle, he breaks up with his girlfriend and comes to terms with his true orientation.  Nelson, meanwhile, has decided that he is in love with Kyle, and tries to put the moves on him.  When that doesn't work, he descends into depression, binging and purging and having unprotected sex with an older man he met on the internet.  Afraid he may have contracted HIV, he sinks even lower, refusing to go to school.  Turns out that Nelson, who is so open about his sexual orientation, doesn't really know any more about how to go about this whole dating business than anyone else.  An act of gay bashing makes Jason realize that it is too dangerous not to stand up for himself and his friends, and leads to him finally coming out to his family.

Review:
If the above summary reminds you of a soap opera, you are not far wrong.  There are a lot of issues tackled in this book, from sexual orientation to gay bashing to bulimia to alcoholism.  Despite the somewhat soapish nature of the plot, the subjects are all handled in an honest way, without any sensationalism or gratuitous detail.  

Each of the boys comes from a very different family.  Nelson lives with his mother, and has almost no contact with his father.  Nelson's mother is the epitome of what gay-accepting parents should be.  She stands up for her son and his right to be who he is, and is actively involved in working for gay rights.  Kyle's parents are well-meaning, though his dad is constantly pushing him into sports.  That's the only reason Kyle joined the swim team, though he finds that swimming is something that helps him clear his head.  When he comes out to his parents, they are taken aback, and both of them struggle to understand how he became the way he is.  When push comes to shove, however, and they find out that he is being harassed at school, they stand up for him.  Jason's dad is an alcoholic-a violent one at that.  He found Jason and another boy experimenting when they were 10, and ever since he has called him pansy or faggot.  It is only after Jason brings Nelson and Kyle back to his house after they were jumped on the street, and his dad starts in on them, that he is able to stand up to him and tell him his deepest secret.  There's no storybook ending here-Dad does not suddenyl decide to go to AA and become a PFLAG member.  He leaves the family and disowns Jason.

It is this authenticity and honesty that makes the book so appealing.  Each of the boys could represent someone I know, or should I say that I know someone who went through what each of these boys did.  The characters are well-developed, and you feel sympathy for each of them.  The plot is well-paced, and the events feel real.  When Kyle's mom finds his gay porno mag, you wince right along with him.  When Nelson gets so depressed he can't get out of bed, you remember what being 17 was like yourself,  how intensely teens feel everything.  Sadly, the boys harassing Kyle and Nelson are also completely believable.  The book was written in 2001, but even with all of the advances in gay rights and awareness that have happened in our country since there are still too many boys like them in our schools.

Sanchez does an excellent job of balancing the personal stories of the boys and some heavily debated societal issues.  When the boys want to start a Gay Straight Alliance at their school, there is the expected opposition from religious groups.  The teachers ignoring the harassment the boys are getting, and in fact blaming them for it because they can't act more "normal", is something that is still true.  Parental acceptance of gay youth differs, though I like to think that more parents are supportive than there used to be.  Overall, this novel brings home the issues that gay teens face every day in a very accessible, personal way.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The God Box (imported from Second Childhood Reviews)

Title:  The God Box
Author:  Alex Sanchez
Publsiher:  Simon Pulse
Pages:  248
Genre:  Realistic Fiction
Age Level:  8th-12th Grade






Plot Summary:
Paul is a high school senior in a small Texas town.  He and his girlfriend Angie have been together since middle school, and they enjoy the same things-listening to their favorite Christian rock CDs, singing in the church choir, and being members of their school's Bible study club.  Paul tried not to worry about the fact that while he loves Angie, he does not feel the same attraction for her that most boys describe feeling for girls.  He prays on it most nights-prays that he will lose the "unnatural" feelings he has towards boys so he can be a good Christian.  Enter Manuel, new to school and the first openly gay teen Paul or his friends have ever known.  Manuel is also devoutly Christian, and Paul is thrown into turmoil.  Is it possible to be Christian and gay?  Slowly Manuel opens his eyes to new interpretations of the Bible passages that get trotted out to "prove" God's hatred of homosexuals, but it is not until one terrifying night that Paul decides that being true to himself as one of God's creations is the best way to honor his creator.

Review:
I loved this book, and I'm not even going to try to find some cute, book-reviewer way to say it.  I think that this book should be required reading in every Christian school/Sunday school/Bible study in the country.  If you looked up the definition of "Christian" in the dictionary, Paul's picture would be there.  He loved the Lord, and strove every day to live up to Jesus's standards.  He was kind, and compassionate, and actively engaged in his faith.  But he had been taught that his attraction for men negated all of the prayer and good deeds he's ever done.  Manuel slowly, one Biblical argument at a time, dismantles all of the dogma Paul had been taught.  Their Bible discussions are thoughtful and thought-provoking.  Manuel is not written as some raging queer radical-he's just an average kid, same as the rest, only comfortable enough with himself to live openly as gay.  Even in the face of taunts and danger (sounds a little bit like Christ himself, doesn't it?), he stays true to who he believes God wants him to be.  I really believe that this book put in the hands of the right child at the right time could literally save lives.

Monday, July 05, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It has been all young adult, all the time in my house this week!  I am deep in the midst of reading books for a webquest assignment, a diversity in young adult literature presentation, a literature share, and book reviews. The books I've reviews on my new blog, Second Childhood Reviews, are listed below.  Come on over and check it out!  Here's how my week went:














The God Box, by Alex Sanchez (review coming soon!)



Right now I am starting a novel about a high school boy who falls for the new girl, only to find out she was born a bay, called Almost Perfect.  I also have some more Alex Sanchez books and some more Francesca Lia Block books to get to.  I'll be reading Kate DiCamillo's The Magician's Elephant, as well as The View of Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg, and Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  I may even get to an adult novel this week, of time permits.  I hope that everyone has a great reading week!