Around the Web (#11)

(The above image was created by me via Canva for the purpose of these posts)

For you or the YA reader in your life.

I absolutely LOVE Molly Idle’s work. I’m glad to see her upcoming is getting a starred review!

Calling all Cassandra Clare fans! I’m sure you’ve already seen this interview, but figured I would share since I enjoyed her interview with Independent.

I’m still not one hundred percent sure as to what exactly happened here. If you’re like me, hopefully this offers more info on how the YA Community had a book removed from the bestsellers list.

Are you in love? Need a good quote? Look no further!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in School

(The above image was created by me for the purpose of this post)

Hello Readers!

(I know this was technically last week’s TTT topic, but I decided to post it this week because this week’s topic didn’t really work for me.)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in school. A very, very long time.  And honestly, a lot of it I put behind me. But the one thing I didn’t put behind me were the books I read. Some I hated, some I absolutely loved, and some stood out cause they provided me with a good memory.

Today, I am going to share with you my top ten fave books I read in school. We will start in Grammar school and work our way up to Grad School.

Grammar School:

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka: This book was first published in 1992. I was 9 years old, and I remember every single kid in my class couldn’t wait to get their grubby little hands on this book. I was one of those kids. Each week one of us had the chance to check out the book for a week. When our week was up, we had to begrudgingly give up the book to the next classmate. I remember when it was my turn, I read the book straight through in one sitting. I just loved it. And now as a librarian I love recommending it to kids.

One Evil Summer by R. L. Stine: I was a horror fan from a very early age. I remember reading my older cousin’s cast-offs, even though honestly I didn’t really get them. She read Christopher Pike, so obviously I read Christopher Pike. She read R.L. Stine so obviously I did too. And it seemed like I wasn’t alone. My fellow classmates read them … or at least wanted to. Every year, in “library class” as I called it way back when, we would choose a book and read it together as a class. Each and every year we begged our librarian to let us pick a fear street book. And finally when we were in seventh or eighth grade (I can’t remember which) she finally agreed, and we chose One Evil Summer. If I wasn’t a horror fan than, I certainly would have been after. I read many Fear Street books, many of which I only vaguely remember, but this one is still as vivid as the day I read it. And true story, I actually have a copy signed by R.L. himself.

The Grass Rope by William Mayne: To tell you the truth, I don’t remember what this book was about. But I do remember checking it out from the school library many, many times. I know I read it, and I know in my heart of hearts that I loved it. I just can’t remember exactly why. Thinking back, maybe it was the cover. After all, there is a unicorn on it. I remember loving it so much that a few years ago I went and found a very old, and very used copy on Amazon. I haven’t read it (yet), but just knowing I have it warms my heart.

High School:

Animal Farm by George Orwell: Admittedly I did NOT love this book. But the reason why it is on this list is because it provided me with a fond memory. Freshman year, my lit teacher (who was an awesome teacher) made us all read Animal Farm. I read the book and wrote my report. And in my head I totally know that I aced this report. After the report was handed in, and during our discussion, I realized that I didn’t really understand this book. I had absolutely NO clue that this book was about communism. I thought it was just a book about a bunch of animals who could talk. I thought it was just a silly book that meant nothing really. Boy was I wrong. For the entire class period, I sat and worried that I had failed my first high school report. Looking back now, I can laugh at this. And no, I didn’t fail either.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Later on freshman year, my teacher told us we had to choose a book and report on it. He said we could choose any book we want so long as it wasn’t “trash”.  He said if we couldn’t choose a book, he’d choose one for us. Being the person I am, after class I approached him and asked what constitutes “trash”? Let’s be honest, what he would consider trash may not be what I would consider trash, and I wanted to be clear. He told me to follow him. And I did to the book closet in the hall across from our classroom. He handed me a book and basically told me which book isn’t trash. That book was Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I took it home and read it. The next day, he asked if I started it. And I told him I had … and that I also finished it. He knew I would love it. He knew I would be fascinated by Boo and find a lot of myself in Scout. From that day forward, not only had I found my favorite book, but I found a teacher who left a lasting impression. And I am so thankful to him. I always will be.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Picture it: freshman English class. My favorite class in my whole high school career truthfully. My teacher had us read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby together as a class. We read, we discussed, and ultimately were tested on it. I remember I loved this book. I was swept up in the lavishness of it. And I loved the writing style. It soon became a fast favorite.

College:

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Suzanne: I borrowed this from my best friend after it had taken her several months to read it. I figured, since we are so close, and we read very similarly, that I wouldn’t like it. That is, judging from how long it took her to read it. Well I was wrong. I read the book in about two weeks (which is a short time in between classes and reading for said college classes). I really loved this so-called “trash novel”. I thought the characters were great – they were flawed, honest, and simply enchanting. I loved the plot, and how I felt I was a part of it. I loved how it felt so realistic, yet so other worldly. After reading this, I went one to read and love Suzanne’s other works.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: A friend had given this book to me. Before that I hadn’t heard of it. I didn’t even think I would read it because I knew nothing about it. But the cover got me. It was so simple it spoke volumes. I needed to find out what it was about. I cracked open the spine and gobbled the book up in a day or two.  After I had searched it on the interwebs (after reading of course) I got what all the hype was about.  to this day it sits proudly on my shelf, and I recommend it to everyone and anyone who asks for a recommendation.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: My bestie lent me her copy of this book. She simply said: read it. And I did. To say I loved this book would be an understatement. It was beautiful and disturbing, it was hauntingly engaging. It was about a family of circus sideshow performers.  And if you didn’t know the circus and the sideshow fascinates me.

Grad School:

Tithe by Holly Black: When I first started grad school and had decided that I wanted to focus my attention, and my academic career on Young Adult Literature, I marched myself over to the YA section of my (not so) local library and randomly pulled several books off of the shelves. I pulled what looked interesting to me, I pulled books I had never even heard of, I pulled books that left a lasting impression. On that faithful trip I pulled five books. They were: The Shape of Water by Anne  Spollen, Alive and Well in Prague, NY by Daphne Benedis-Grab, Ruby by Francesca Lia Block, Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell, and Tithe by Holly Black. While I don’t remember the details of most of them, I remember Tithe as if I read it yesterday. I remember being entranced. I remember realizing that Holly Black would soon be one of my favorite authors. And I would (much later) realize that she is the person I want to be when I grow up!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I had chosen to read this book in my genre class. At this point there was already a lot of buzz that I wasn’t subscribing to. I convinced myself that this wasn’t my kind of book. But I read it anyway, and I found out I was blindingly wrong. I found The Hunger Games to be exciting and scary. I remember running out to buy my own copy of the first and second book. And I remember going to one of my first book events with bff Emma (Miss Print). Since reading this first book, I’ve been almost obsessed with the trilogy as a whole. And I have gone one to collect several different editions.

After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson: This book really made me appreciate young adult literature. And it made me appreciate Tupac even more than I already did. It was a beautifully written book that moved me unlike any other book has. Thinking about it now, makes me was to re-read it (something I never really do). I loved how it was about friendship – and how they start and fall apart. I liked how it was about life, and how life is often messy. Above all I liked how it showed the power of music.

***

I know that is more than 10 books, and I know this post was longer than I had expected. But it was fun going down memory lane, and revisiting all the books I have come to love. I hope you didn’t mind taking that stroll with me either.

What are some of the books you read and loved while you were in school? Please share!

Around the Web (#10)

Hot off the press! Kid journalist is making wave!!

Is your soulmate an antihero? Find out here.

I have a tendency to spend a lot of money on Amazon UK. If you’re interested in British books, here’s a list of some new ones that may be of interest.

Are you a subscriber to one of the many book subscription boxes? You aren’t? Well are you interested in subscribing to one? Don’t know what to pick? Let Miss Print help you!

There was a solar eclipse this week! Did you see it? If you were too busy reading to look out your window, check out these books about the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Have you heard about this new photo campaign by Disney?

Even though I haven’t read Three Dark Crowns yet, doesn’t mean that you haven’t. And it doesn’t mean that you aren’t or shouldn’t be excited about Kendare Blake’s pre-order campaign for her upcoming One Dark Crown.  (From what Emma – aka Miss Print – told me it’s very exciting!)

Freebie Friday: Lore: A Podcast Review

Hello Readers!

You don’t know this about me, but I recently (as in the last year or so) started listening to some podcasts.  Some I’ve listened to I’ve liked and have continued to read. Others I simply didn’t like for one reason or another and have stopped listening to them.

But there’s one particular podcast I’ve listened to solidly. And I have to thank my best friend for the recommendation.  She suggested that I listen to this podcast named Lore. Because we are so close, and because she knows me so well, I trust her completely.  And wouldn’t you know: she was right. After a single episode I was hooked!

Lore is created, written, hosted, and produced by a gentleman named Aaron Mahnke. This podcast features tales of real life ghost stories and creepy folklore from all over the world. It basically tells and discusses all those things that go bump in the night.

Now, I’m no expert on podcasts. I know next to nothing about what really goes into the recording and the producing of a podcast. But what I do know is this: Lore is very well produced! And the sound quality is near perfect.

Another aspect of what makes Lore such a great podcase is host Aaron Mahnke. He is a storyteller. He knows exactly how to keep readers engaged and entertained. Besides that, through his tales he makes listeners think and question.

As a listener I’ve learned a lot from this podcast.  All of the stories that Mahnke tells is one hundred percent fact. Even the ones that seem to strange to be true. Believe me, I’ve Googled and have researched some of the topics of Lore podcast. And all I found was scary fact after fact.

For example, before Lore I had no clue about the Hungarian noblewoman who had more in common with Dracula than any human should. (In case you don’t know who I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and look up Elizabeth Bathory). I also had no clue about that the huldufolk (ask Icelandic hidden people) even existed.  And now that I know about them both, I’m interested in learning more about the lore, about the reality, and about their places in our culture.

I feel like I could go on and on about Lore. I won’t. I’ll just say that you should check it out. And when you love it as much as I do, we should totally talk about it!

For more information about Lore Podcast check Lore out online!

 

 

Pashmina

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani

Priyanka, or just Pri as she prefers t one called, is your average high school student. But as average as she is, she doesn’t necessarily feel that way. Often times she feels out of place – both at school and at home.

At school, Pri feel like she stands out as the only Indian-American. Classmates can’t seem to pronounce her first name, they don’t seem to get her art, and they certainly don’t share the same interests.

Home isn’t any better. Pri’s mom feels that she doesn’t embrace their Indian culture. Instead she feels like she focuses too much on things that aren’t important – like what happened to her dad? And why her mom and aunt no longer speak.

The only time Pri feels one hundred percent comfortable is with her uncle. So when she find out he will be having a child of his own, Pri’s upset. She knows there will be no room in her uncle’s life for her once the baby comes.

Trying to find the answer to her prayer, Pri stumbles upon an old pashmina that belongs to her mother. A pashmina that is full of secrets and magic.

But will the secrets and magic held within the pashmina be enough to answer Pri’s prayers?

Pashmina, a debut graphic novel, written and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani is, at it’s core (I think) a book about choices.

Chanani’s writing is simple, yet strong. The dialog and stream of consciousness is realistic, it’s honest, and reflective of that an of a everyday kid. Because of this, I feel that readers of all ages will easily relate to main character Priyanka and the overall plot. While not word heavy, I truly appreciated how that the writing let the illustrations shine through and be the true superstar of this book.

Chanani’s illustrations are beautiful. I love how she chose to create some illustrations in black and white, and others in vivid color. From this, readers get a sense that sometimes main character Priyanka viewed her life as boring and mundane. She went to school, took a driving lesson or two from her uncle, and ate dinner with her mom every day. And there are other times that her life if bright, vivid, and super exciting.

Like mentioned before, I feel that Chanani’s Pashmina is a book about choices. Priyanka is young, and is immature. So when readers first meet her, they’ll see that she’s still learning how the world works, and how the choices she makes can affect, not only her and her life, but those around her as well. But by the book’s end, you’ll see that she has grown. She’ll understand the choices that her family has made to lead her to the exact point she’s at.

And speaking of main character Priyanka … I really liked her. I liked how she read a lot younger than she was. I know that sounds strange, but I felt because she was young, and immature that there was room to grow. And as a character I felt that Priyanka did, in fact, want to grow. Besides that, I also felt that she was a relatable character to readers. And ultimately, she’s the kind of character that readers will want to see a happy ending for.

I expected to enjoy Pashmina, as I was super excited about it. But what I didn’t expect was to enjoy it as much as I did. The bottom line is this: I thought the storytime was unique and relatable. I thought the artwork was beautiful and rich. And The characters were strong, and just as unique and relatable as the storytime.

(Cover from GoodReads)