Category Archives: 180 Things

New Book – Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Dodger is Terry Pratchett’s latest publication and a 2013 Printz Honor Book. In this non-Discworld novel, Pratchett lends his humor and style to The ARtful Dodger from Oliver Twist. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it seems to take place outside of the Oliver Twist world, since one of the characters Dodger encounters along the way is Charles Dickens himself. Terry Pratchett has never disappointed me so I can only imagine that this is going to be a fun read.

More Spring Break Books

More suggestions for those spring break reading lists.

I had the opportunity to meet Victoria Scwab, author of The Archived a few weeks ago at Children’s Book World. She is a very cool person and the idea behind this book grabbed me (and my friend Rachee who is also a librarian) right away. “The Archived” refers to dead folks. In this story, the dead are cataloged and shelved in a special library and called Histories. Keepers are charged with finding Histories who have escaped and are wandering about in the world. Mac follows in her grandfather’s footsteps and takes a job as a Keeper.
I found this fun booktrailer done as part of an English class.

Sometimes going into the family business is great. But if your dad is “The Artist,” the world’s most notorious serial killer, you probably aren’t looking to follow his lead. In Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers, Jazz wants to make it clear to everyone that he is not his father’s son. So when someone comes to town and starts recreating The Artist’s killings, Jazz is quick to offer his help to the police, who sometimes appreciate it, and sometimes aren’t sure what to make of Jazz’s interest. I read this book recently in one sitting. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

Spring Break Reading

It’s that time! Time to start putting together those spring break reading lists. Today’s suggestion is for those who love high fantasy–or those willing to give it a go (I’m not a big fantasy fan, but I loved this book). In Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina, humans and dragons are just barely tolerating a mostly peaceful coexistence. With the death of the human kind and a scheduled visit by the dragon ruler, certain factions are working to destroy the peace. Seraphina is an a unique position to be one of the few people who can help avert disaster.

Rachel Hartman won the Morris Award for best debut author this year. She is also a former employee of Children’s Book World in Haverford.

Teen Tech Week Reads

To start the week out, we’ve got John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. Colin’s a child prodigy, but when it comes to dating, he’s no smarter than a 5th grader. Colin has managed to be dumped by 18 girls, all named Katherine. He and his friend Hassan (who is not a terrorist) go on a roadtrip, and Colin decides to put his genius to work on developing a mathematical formula to help decide how long a relationship will last and who will dump whom. And it’s all complicated when he meets a girl named…Lindsey.

Teen Tech Week bonus…Colin has a mnemonic for remembering the first 99 digits of pi.

Today’s book is M.T. Anderson’s Feed, imagine your computer, phone, MP3 player, and ereader all on one chip, and that chip is embedded in your brain. Need to know the square root of pi? Just think about it and the calculator function gives you the answer. Like that sweatshirt your friend is wearing? You’ll have purchasing options right away. In this world, you don’t need to learn facts at school…you need to learn to make your bed (yeah, all the world’s info is on a chip in your brain, but beds still need to be made manually).

When all of this tech is in your head, what happens when someone releases a virus?

Not Zombies

Last year I participated in YALSA’s Best of the Best Challenge. The challenge? From  April 1st to June 30th, to read at least 25 of the 80 books that won awards or honors or were named to a Top Ten list. My favorite category was the Odyssey Award for best audiobooks. I listened to all five books from that list. Because I was simply choosing books from the list, I didn’t bother to read what the books were about before starting most of them. So, when I picked up Rotters, I just assumed that it was about zombies, because, you know, zombies are big. Imagine my surprise to find out, nope, not zombies. Gravediggers. How cool is that? Who writes about gravediggers?* Who thinks about gravediggers? Apparently Daniel Kraus does and he has written one heck of a book. Here’s my review from when I read it.

RottersRotters by Daniel Kraus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grabbed this because of the YALSA challenge, so I didn’t read anything about it before starting it. I wasn’t too enthusiastic thinking it was just another zombie book. So, when I realized it was grave robbers, I was intrigued.

At the beginning, I was curious as to how this had won the Odyssey Award this year. Kirby Heyborne’s narration was okay, but nothing earth shattering. Then I got to Harnett and thought, this guy is good. Then Knox came along and I was wowed. Then we met Lionel and I could understand why this book won. (He’s still no Rupert Degas, but he’s up there.)

It was interesting to listen to this not long after Ghetto Cowboys and see a different take on the “father and son reunion” story.

I liked that this was a pretty original idea for a book. The subculture of the diggers was well drawn. The outsider in a small town was also well told (I loved the line from the principal about how Harnett never came to homecoming, as if it were a mortal sin). I liked Knox as the keeper of the consciences.

There were some things that were hard to take…how quickly Joey will fall in with whomever he is “chasing”–first digging with Harnett (view spoiler)[then with Boggs (hide spoiler)]. The biology teacher was just a bit too over the top cruel. And Joey at times seemed to have a split personality and a 48 hour day. And I kept wanting Lionel to intervene when the “bad jobs” came up.

All in all, a good story and a great narration.

View all my reviews

And here’s the official book trialer

*Apparently Steve Sheinkin, the guy who wrote Bomb that I loved so much, is writing about them as well. I hear his new book is Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. I can NOT wait to read that!

Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

From a librarian at McCluer High School in Missouri.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy

It’s getting close to Halloween, and I love a good horror story.