Thursday, May 14, 2009

Books that make you go hmmm...

This is a little late, but I blogged at today about reasons that make me fall in love with a book. Go check it out or see below.

Many times I read a book and a week later think-- now what was that one about? Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but the characters just didn’t have that extra oomph that makes them stay with me. Could it be the plot is like every other one or the voice didn’t draw on my emotions? Maybe the setting is not unique or the story didn’t have enough layers? Perhaps the beginning didn’t pull me in or the ending left me unsatisfied? Hmmm…
This made me stop and really think about what makes me fall in love with a novel and why. Of course I want all the above in a story--I’m selfish that way-- but truly the characters have it hands down for me. I need to feel torn for them, know them like my best friend, and cheer for their successes. So what makes them memorable? Hmmm…
It’s different for everyone, but my thoughts are: they have to be a good person with some rotten luck, something I can empathize with. They have to change throughout the story and learn a bit about themselves. The main character has to believe in herself (who wants to listen to a whiney character). And mostly, they have to have honest relationships with the secondary characters.
The ending is the icing on the cake. I always wait for that fantastic ending that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling even after I close the cover. The ones that make me whisper wow. Those characters and their story I know I won’t forget.
“With a good beginning, people will read your story. With a good ending, they’ll remember it!”-- Janet Evanovich.
Some of my favorites are:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
A Great and Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Not a YA, but still great)
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (I know, I know)
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
What makes a book stand out for you? I’d love to hear your comments. If you don’t know… maybe you should go grab one and start reading. Like you need a reason!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Book Review

Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.
I loved this book. It had great voice, characterization and humor with so many layers woven throughout. It had me laughing out loud one moment and crying the next. Definitely one of my top choices from my reading list so far. Happy reading!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Mom's little poem

Here's a poem that was inspired from a sweet calendar that my son made for me at Christmas. I don't know all the rules about poetry, but I loved how this turned out.

My life, My son

I open the book and see a handprint.
Your handprint.
All blues and yellows, oranges and greens,
smeared across the corners of my heart.
Tears flow and break like waves in a mother’s ocean.
Overwhelming pride envelops my soul
as pictures of flowers and fish, pumpkins and turkeys
pass before my eyes.
All painted carefully with my child’s love.
Your love.
No one knows, but I see your blue eyes
flash through the kaleidoscope of my memories.
Sweet temperament with sun kissed blonde hair.
Then…growing and learning fast.
Now…knowing more than your parents.
Soon…going off on your own.
My little boy smiling, and becoming a young man.
My life.