November 19, 2015
Johnson, Adam. Fortune Smiles.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed novel about North Korea, The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson is one of America’s most provocative and powerful authors. Critics have compared him to Kurt Vonnegut, David Mitchell, and George Saunders, but Johnson’s new book will only further his reputation as one of our most original writers. Subtly surreal, darkly comic, both hilarious and heartbreaking, Fortune Smiles is a major collection of stories that gives voice to the perspectives we don’t often hear, while offering something rare in fiction: a new way of looking at the world. In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal.
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me.
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” ( The New York Observer ) “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men–bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.
POETRY – (being ordered)
Lewis, Robin Coste. Voyage of the Sable Venus.
Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present—titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art.
YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE
Shusterman, Neal. Challenger Deep.
A National Book Award Longlist Title A captivating novel about mental illness that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman. Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench. Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior. Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence to document the journey with images. Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head. Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny. Caden Bosch is torn. Challenger Deep is a deeply powerful and personal novel from one of today’s most admired writers for teens. Laurie Halse Anderson, award-winning author of Speak, calls Challenger Deep “a brilliant journey across the dark sea of the mind; frightening, sensitive, and powerful. Simply extraordinary.”
August 24, 2011
Robert Lipsyte author and winner of the 2001 Margaret A. Edwards award wrote in the New York Times Sunday Book Review: Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope? He writes that novels are “bought by female editors, stocked by female librarians and taught by female teachers.”
To me and I think to many prospective readers, today’s books for boys — supernatural space-and-sword epics that read like video game manuals and sports novels with preachy moral messages — often seem like cynical appeals to the lowest common denominator. Boys prefer video games and ESPN to book versions of them. These knockoffs also lack the tough, edgy story lines that allow boys a private place to reflect on the inner fears of failure and humiliation they try so hard to brush over. Editors who ask writers of books for boys to include girl characters — for commercial reasons — further blunt the edges.
Great books are being written for boys, they just need to find them:
… boys need to be approached individually with books about their fears, choices, possibilities and relationships — the kind of reading that will prick their dormant empathy, involve them with fictional characters and lead them into deeper engagement with their own lives. This is what turns boys into readers.
via PW Daily 8/23/11
posting by Lorraine
June 6, 2011
Over the weekend, Meghan Cox Gurdon at the Wall Street Journal wrote an article: Darkness Too Visible: contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea? She writes that fiction aimed at young adults in recent years has become rife with pathologies, that “kidnapping and pederasty and incest and brutal beatings are now just part of the run of things in novels directed, broadly speaking, at children from the ages of 12 to 18.”
If books show us the world, teen fiction can be like a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is. There are of course exceptions, but a careless young reader—or one who seeks out depravity—will find himself surrounded by images not of joy or beauty but of damage, brutality and losses of the most horrendous kinds.
Twitter went crazy under the hashtag #YASaves. Bookshelves of Doom posted a round up of responses.
One-Minute Book Reviews posted In Defense of Meghan Cox Gurdon, Children’s Book Reviewer.
Novelist and dad Christopher John Farley wrote Should Young Adult Books Explore Difficult Issues?
Galleycat posted: Wall Street Journal Reporter Sparks Controversy with YA Readers which includes responses from Teen authors:
What do you think?
posting by Lorraine
January 5, 2011
School Library Journal posted in Fresh Approaches: Lois Duncan’s Spine-Tinglers are Updated for a New Generation that Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has started reissuing Lois Duncan classic Teen titles with “eye-catching new covers, modernized texts, interviews with the author, and discussion guides.”
The first three out are (these titles will be on order for Sno-Isle this month):
- I Know What You Did Last Summer
- Killing Mr. Griffin
- Don’t Look Behind You
Seven more titles are in the works, one of which is A Gift of Magic which I devoured in 7th grade. I’ll order them for the collection as they are published.
posting by Lorraine
November 4, 2010
one of my favorite nonfiction titles which i’ve featured on the “What We’re Reading Banner” is John Fleischman’s “Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story about Brain Science.” in case you’re not familiar with his story, Phineas Gage was a railroad foreman who had a 13 lb., 3 1/2″ long iron rod pass through his brain and lived to tell about it. the year was 1848 when little was known about brain science, that is until Gage’s unfortunate accident with dynamite.
(via bookshelves of doom)
posting by marin
May 17, 2010
John Green and David Levithan discuss their new teen novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson in the San Francisco Chronicle, Authors, characters in tandem in ‘Will Grayson.’
The book is about two young men with the same name. who both struggle with identity issues. One Will is straight and the other gay. So far, there has been little negative reaction to the gay themes in the books:
“I know that will come,” Levithan says, “but for more and more kids, gay is no big deal to them. For every kid who is still suffering silently, there are many who don’t have to.”
Does the acceptance of “Will Grayson” signal a sea change in teen literature?
“Absolutely,” Levithan says. “You are getting a much more expansive number of voices in teen literature than you’ve ever had before. Many diverse populations being are being represented …”
“And represented well,” Green adds. “We have a publishing freedom that they don’t necessarily have in adult fiction, which is hilarious to me. However, I think there is a problem with getting those great books to readers. I think that too many of the good books that reflect the world as it is don’t find a readership because they’re choked out by bad books.”
via PW Children’s Bookshelf
posting by Lorraine
May 4, 2010
The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature has been around for ten years now. Booklist Online in What’s Printz-worthy?, asked Printz winners, “(W)hat if the Michael L. Printz Award had been established years, even decades earlier? What are some of the books that might have been deemed Printz-worthy?”
Some of the responses were:
- Celine by Brock Cole (1989) — Ellen Wittlinger, author of Printz Honor Book Hard Love (1999)
- The Land of Nod Rockabye Book by Jay Stephens (1999) — Gene Luen Yang, author of Printz Award Winner American Born Chinese (2006)
- The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1938) — Helen Frost, author of Printz Honor Book Keesha’s House (2003)
What books do you find Printz-worthy?
via Booklist Quip Tips Newsletter
posting by Lorraine