If you’ve seen Mr. Cohen in his red puffy vest today, you know what’s special about today. If you haven’t seen him, and you’ve had no contact with social media…today is the day Marty McFly went “back to the future.”
So, in honor of Marty and Doc, and Jaws 19 I thought I’d pull a little literary tie travel for today’s book.
I just finally got around to reading Around the World in 80 Days this summer, when I needed a book over 100 years old for my Summer Reading Bingo (and it was a free audio download from Sync). This is the ultimate bar bet story. While out one night with some acquaintances, Mr. Phileas Fogg declares that given the state of travel, one could circumnavigate the globe in a mere 80 days. Now, Mr. Fogg is rather set in his ways and his trip does not take actually visiting places into account. He’s going to go from trail to steamer, to train, without bothering to see the sights. The men wager twenty thousand pounds (remember, this was written in 1873, so that’s a lot of money). Mr. Fogg sets off that night, confident in his calculations.
The trip starts out just fine, but it wouldn’t be a book that’s lasted 142 years if Mr. Fogg didn’t encounter some difficulties: bad weather, a woman in distress, cultural misunderstandings, and a cop who is convinced Fogg fled London after robbing a bank.
And believe it or not, there is an element of time travel in the story…but if you want to know what that is, you’ll have to read it for yourself. I have a copy in the library. Or, if you like to read electronically, you can download a copy from Project Gutenberg.
Today’s classic book is a twist on a classic.
Sharon M. Draper’s Romiette and Julio takes the Bard’s classic and gives it a modern twist. It’s a slightly older book (published in 1999, hence showcasing it on “Classic Book Friday”), so it may seem a little dated that Romiette and Julio meet in an internet chat room where they hit it off and discover that they go to the same school. Everything is going great until a local gang expresses disapproval of their interracial relationship.
I read this ages ago (probably the first time I was here at Hill Top) and remember loving it. Sharon M. Draper is a fabulous writer. In fact, she was just awarded the Margaret A Edwards award for her significant contribution to young adult literature.
Which brings me to a proposal. Every year, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), through their blog The Hub, does what they call the Best of the Best challenge. For this, they challenge people to 25 of the books that have received awards, like the Printz, the Edwards, the Odyssey, or have been named to a top ten list, like top ten graphic novels, popular paperbacks, etc. For the 4th year in a row, I’ll be participating. And I’d love it if some of you would join me. I’m not suggesting that everyone read 25 books, but a few. The full list of nominated books can be found here (2015_hub_reading_challenge_list-HTtitles). The highlighted books are ones that the library either already has, or that are on order for the library. But, as always, if there’s something you want to read that we don’t have, I will happily get it for you through interlibrary loan. Let’s see if we can, as a community, read 25 of the books!
Let me know if you’re interested in trying some of these books. If you are, I can set up either a Google Classroom or a group on Goodreads and we can keep track of what everyone is reading and what you think of the books.
I’m late in putting up yesterday’s books. I chose these because it’s not even officially winter and I’m done with snow, so I tried to find some books that give a warm feeling.
First up: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. A classic pirate tale. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. It’s fun.
Second: I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak. Ed’s a slacker. He drives a cab, plays cards (badly) with friends, and pines after his best friend. Beyond that, he has no desire to do anything more. Until the day he accidentally stops a bank robbery. After that, he starts getting playing cards in the mail with instructions to do things that will help others. Ed doesn’t know who is sending them, but he feels he has no choice but to do as he’s asked. And his world starts to change. There’s nothing necessarily tropical about this book, but it’s set in Australia where it is currently summer. Zusak is also the author of The Book thief, a phenomenal story that has been made into a movie that’s out now. He’s also incredibly nice…I wrote him a “fan email” back when I was reading The Book Thief and he sent me a very nice email back.
Finally, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Imagine Lord of the Flies, but with teen beauty pageant contestants. This is the story of a group of teen beauty queens trapped on a (seemingly) deserted island after their plane crashes. Bray is one of the funniest writers out there. Here’s her ad for the book: