Friday, April 27, 2007

A Change of Name & Address

Hey, everyone! I'm moving to a new blog address - getting it up and running right now. The new blog wil still contain lots of book review (hopefully a lot more than I've been writing lately, as my class is almost over!), but it will also contain more "2.0" Library and Lit goodies. Check it out here (and remember it's still a work in progress...)

Monday, April 23, 2007

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese was on my list to read before it won the Printz Award, thanks to Michael Cart's presentation at this year's ISLMA conference. He raved about it, so, even though it didn't sound like something I'd pick up on my own, I wanted to read it. It took forever for our library copy to get here, however. Then some students wanted it, and I loaned to to a teacher who was just getting into graphic novels...and so on. Finally, on Friday, a snagged it for myself and took it home to read over the weekend.

It's actually three stories that seem to have no connection. One is the story of Jin Wang, and American born Chinese, who wants nothing more than to fit in. The second is the story of Danny and his cousin Chinkee, who is a glaringly offensive portrayal of the stereotyped image of a Chinese immigrant - pidgin grammar, silk pajamas, etc. Last is the story of the Monkey King and his desire to obtain a higher consciousness and thus no longer be a monkey.

At first I was nervous the story lines wouldn't tie together and I'd be left trying to puzzle out their meanings. I had nothing to worry about, however. Gene Luen Yang does an excellent job of bringing the stories together to illustrate what it feels like to be and outsider in two cultures.

What I'm Reading: The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

On My Bookshelf: Queen of the Slayers; Buffy Season 8; Beastly by Alex Flinn

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan

Pride of Baghdad was incredible on two levels: first as a graphic novel, second as an illustration of the situation in Iraq. The story is based on real events: a pride of four lions escapes from the Baghdad Zoo when the city is bombed by the Americans. Told from the lions' point of view, we see the planes flying over the zoo, experience their confusion at the explosions, and their sense of excitement and trepidation when the realize they've been freed. Teens who don't know very much about the war will still enjoy Pride of Baghdad for the story & the illustrations, while those who possess more knowledge of the war will pick up on the subtle analogies between the zoo animals and the situation in the Middle East.
What I'm reading: American Born Chinese by gene Luen Yang
On My Bookshelf: The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti; Queen of the Slayers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

CSI fans will like Ferguson's forensic mystery, the story of a girl whose father is the local coroner. Cameryn knows she wants to study forensics, so she talks her dad into maker her his assistant - a great way to get some real experience. The job gets interesting in a hurry when a high profile murder is committed in their little town - a town that hasn't seen a murder in Cameryn's lifetime. Cameryn's new job puts her right in the middle of the investigation, much to the chagrin of the medical examiner and her grandmother.

There are enough twists & turns in The Christopher Killer to make it a good mystery, and the forensic details may appeal to those who aren't fans of typical mysteries. Less gory than CSI (maybe - depends on how good your imagination is) but definately more detailed than the average mystery, The Christopher Killer is the first in a new series that is recieving acclaim from authors & forensics experts both.
I couldn't put this one down until I was done, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Angel of Death, which is already out. The mystery kept me guessing for most of the book, and I enjoyed the exploration of Cameryn's relationship with her family. The family dynamics are what will make me, and other readers, rush to pick up the next book.
What I'm Reading: The Audacity of Hope by Barrack Obama
On My Bookshelf: Beastly by Alex Flinn