Sunday, 10 May 2009

GREAT BOOKS - Teen Top Ten List for 2009

Last year over 8,000 teenagers voted for their favourite books. Do you know which book was the top book of 2008? You guessed it! Stephanie Meyer's Eclipse was #1. If you want to see what the other top books of 2008 were, you can click HERE.

In April 2009, the ALA released its new selection of 25 nominated books. Teenagers now have 25 weeks to read the 25 books and review them. Then, in October, they will vote for the top ten books of the year.

This list is excellent because it gives us a starting point for selecting the next great books we want to read. Have a look at the blurbs for these popular books HERE.

Will Stephanie Meyer be number one for a second year with her fantastic conclusion to the Twilight series - Breaking Dawn? To be honest, I can't see how any book has a fighting chance against this book. Twilight is a phenomenon and just around the time the judging will be done, the next movie will be coming out. Anyway, maybe Suzanne Collins could sneak from behind to win with her bestselling Hunger Games. If I had to choose between the two, it would be very, very difficult. Maybe another writer will surprise us. Clare hit #6 with City of Bones last year so maybe she can climb up the list with City of Ashes. Who knows? Also, I'm very curious about this book called Truancy. The 15-year-old New York student/writer (now 18), Isamu Fukui, actually has two books nominated so it must be a popular series. It will be interesting to see who makes the top ten.


Absolutely Maybe Yee, Lisa.

Bloodline Moran, Katy

Breaking Dawn Meyer, Stephenie

City of Ashes Clare, Cassandra

Daughter of the Flames Marriott, Zoё

Eternal Smith, Cynthia Leitich

Evermore Noёl, Alyson

Flygirl Smith, Sherri L.

Geek Charming Palmer, Robin

Graceling Cashore, Kristin

Identical Hopkins, Ellen

Impossible Werlin, Nancy

Living Dead Girl Scott, Elizabeth

Melting Stones Pierce, Tamora

Paper Towns Green, John

Runemarks Harris, Joanne

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks Weingarten, Lynn

The Graveyard Book Gaiman, Neil

The Hunger Games Collins, Suzanne

The Knife of Never Letting Go Ness, Patrick..

Truancy Fukui , Isamu

Truancy: Origins Fukui , Isamu

Untamed Cast, Kristin & P.C

Wake McMann, Lisa

Wherever Nina Lies Weingarten, Lynn

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner of Khaled Hosseini's deeply moving fiction debut is an illiterate Afghan boy with an uncanny instinct for predicting exactly where a downed kite will land. Growing up in the city of Kabul in the early 1970s, Hassan was narrator Amir's closest friend even though the loyal 11-year-old with "a face like a Chinese doll" was the son of Amir's father's servant and a member of Afghanistan's despised Hazara minority. But in 1975, on the day of Kabul's annual kite-fighting tournament, something unspeakable happened between the two boys.

Narrated by Amir, a 40-year-old novelist living in California, The Kite Runner tells the gripping story of a boyhood friendship destroyed by jealousy, fear, and the kind of ruthless evil that transcends mere politics. Running parallel to this personal narrative of loss and redemption is the story of modern Afghanistan and of Amir's equally guilt-ridden relationship with the war-torn city of his birth. The first Afghan novel to be written in English, The Kite Runner begins in the final days of King Zahir Shah's 40-year reign and traces the country's fall from a secluded oasis to a tank-strewn battlefield controlled by the Russians and then the trigger-happy Taliban. When Amir returns to Kabul to rescue Hassan's orphaned child, the personal and the political get tangled together in a plot that is as suspenseful as it is taut with feeling.

So many books, so little time. I'm still working on a couple of books, but I couldn't resist this one when I saw it at Best Eastern tonight. I was about to order it from Amazon. That was before I decided to buy the Much Ado DVD which cost a fortune. Anyway, I figured I'd save a few bucks and grab this book here. It turns out the paperback I bought cost $18.80. Now, I had it worked out that through Amazon I'd be getting it for $16.80. So much for saving money. Can somebody explain that to me? How can Amazon be cheaper even after you pay $8 for shipping and handling. Arrghh!
Everybody keeps talking about The Kite Runner. It seems like it is a very popular book even though the topic seems quite serious. I thought I'd give it a shot. I've been pretty lucky with the bestsellers I've bought the last few years so I hope this one pans out too. Once again, I'm reading a book that I wouldn't normally read. Let's see what happens.
BTW, has anybody read this book?
Stay tuned for the review...

Monday, 4 May 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

Amazon Product Description It's a brand-new year and a brand-new journal and Greg is keen to put the humiliating (and secret!) events of last summer firmly behind him. But someone knows everything – someone whose job it is to most definitely not keep anything embarrassing of Greg's private – his big brother, Rodrick. How can Greg make it through this new school year with his cool(ish) reputation intact?

The Wimpy Kid is sweeping the country. I went to Best Eastern a couple months ago and bought the first book in the series after searching all the bookstores for weeks to get one. They had just received a shipment and had quite a few in stock. A couple of weeks later they were sold out of part one, but had the second one in the series so I grabbed it. Now, you can have all the Twilight books you want, but you can't get a Wimpy Kid.

This is the second book in the Wimpy Kid Series. I really enjoyed the first book a lot and the second book was fun too. It is a quick book to read and it has a number of funny parts to it. As usual, the drawings add to the enjoyment. I think you will like it. It is so easy to read and is bound to make you laugh.

I will give this one 3/5 stars. It's a solid follow-up to the first book.

For a preview of the book, click here.

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

Amazon Product Description: Mankind must put a stop to the dreadful destruction caused by the Iron Man. A trap is set for him, but he cannot be kept down. Then, when a terrible monster from outer space threatens to lay waste to the planet, it is the Iron Man who finds a way to save the world.

A few years ago I was at a teacher's workshop where we read the first few pages of this story. I was hypnotized. Ever since, I've had my eyes out for it and even planned to order it from Amazon. As luck would have it, I was at ISB last week and noticed this little gem at a book sale in the library.

This short 63-page book is magical. I especially loved the first chapter. Hughes writes poetically and brings the Iron Man alive for us. It sounds like poetry. It sounds like a fairy tale. Most of all, it sounds like an iron man - simple and strong, ambling forward step by step, too enormous to live comfortably on our small world.

Hear is a very short excerpt from the first two pages of the book:

The Iron Man came to the top of the cliff.

How far had he walked? Nobody knows. Where had he come from? Nobody knows. How was he made? Nobody knows.

Taller than a house, the Iron Man stood at the top of the cliff, on the very brink, in the darkness.

The wind sang through his iron fingers. His great iron head, shaped like a dustbin but as big as a bedroom, slowly turned to the right, slowly turned to the left. His iron ears turned this way, that way. He was hearing the sea. His eyes, like headlamps, glowed white, then red, then infra-red, searching the sea. Never before had the Iron Man seen the sea.

Isn't that amazing? It is really fun to read out loud. It sounds so neat. It sounds like the iron man the way the sentences kind of awkwardly lurch forward one after another. I love it.

You'll be amazed by this story. If you have a little brother to read to, he'll be fascinated too.

I'll give this one 4/5 stars. It is well worth reading.