books, check 'em out

and i need a job, so i want to be a paperback writer

Countdown 08/23/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 8:12 AM

Countdown (The Sixties Trilogy Series)
Deborah Wiles
New York: Scholastic, 2010.
400 pp.

First thought: Ahhh! This book LOOKS SO COOL. I think the term “documentary novel” (or, as I like to call it, “docu-novel”) is being tossed around about this book, because Wiles intertwines her story with images, advertisements, speeches, and song lyrics from the early 60’s. My short attention span was so grateful to have black and white photos with large bold text to look at in between (short) chapters. This book is absolutely a joy to flip through.

The story is set in 1962, where our narrator, Franny, is learning to duck and cover at school, for the Cuban Missle Crisis is in full-swing. In addition to worrying about being blown up by the Soviets, Franny has other issues to deal with — her PTSD-stricken uncle, who is stuck in the trenches of WWI, her budding flower child older sister, running away to secret meetings and joining the Civil Rights Movement, her perfect younger brother who cannot tell a lie, the cute boy down the street who actually talks to her, and her (former) best friend who has completely turned her back on her and starts openly mocking her in school. A lot to deal with. And, oh Franny, it’ll all be okay.

I really like Franny. Franny may have been catapulted into my top 10 favorite young girl narrators. I want to give Franny a hug. And I applaud her for not losing her mind despite the mess she’s in.

I wonder though, if children will embrace this novel as fully as I have. I think this is definitely a niche novel; it’ll appeal to a certain type of reader, but I’m not sure if it has that universal appeal that makes a novel truly great (in my opinion). It’ll be interesting to see this novel’s progress. Some kids might be turned off by the images strewn throughout the book (it may be too much of an interruption; too “nonfiction-ey”.) This kid was not.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Movie 08/18/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 6:51 AM

A great post over at A Fuse #8 Production (one of my top 5 blogs) about the mysterious new girl in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Movie. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was confused by her presence. Betsy Bird does it again!!!


Will Grayson, Will Grayson 08/12/2010

Filed under: Books — kimbolee @ 7:14 AM
Tags: , , ,

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
John Green and David Levithan
New York: Dutton, 2009.
310 p.

This book combines two things I love: John Green’s writing and Chicago. (I haven’t read anything by David Levithan but am inspired to grab one of his books right now!) Two dudes with the same name meet each other one night in Chicago. That is what the book is about and it is also not what the book is about. One Will Grayson is a high school loner, content with hanging out with his Big Gay Best Friend, Tiny, and not getting noticed at all. The other Will Grayson is also a loner, content to hang out in his bedroom chatting online with his e-boyfriend all night. And then one night in the city…THEIR WORLDS COLLIDE!!! I love this premise.
I am a fan of books with alternating narrators (Time-Traveler’s Wife, anyone?), and I loved that the book still had a consistent undertone, despite being about two different characters and written by two different authors. And then! Tiny Cooper (Will Grayson #1’s BGBF) enters into Will Grayson #2’s world, and both authors end up writing the same character. And…it works! Wahooo!
I took my time with this one, and I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t love it love it, or I had been flying through too many books at the time and just wanted to slow down. In any event, I enjoyed this book, mostly because I could close my eyes and imagine exactly where the characters were at any moment. Sooooo….maybe I just really like books set in Chicago. I won’t say that I would have disliked this book had it been set somewhere else, but I will say that I wouldn’t have liked it as much. (I just blew your mind, didn’t I.)
Anyway, this book is about relationships, and high school, and friendships, and Chicago…and I’d like to applaud it for having an unabashed, unapologetic, big gay best friend as a main character. (Begin slow clap…)


Little Piggie Cat 08/11/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimbolee @ 4:45 PM

I rescued a baby kitten from our garage about a month ago. His names are: Little Baby Cat (for he is a wee thing), Donut (for he is like a favorite character from The Wire, always stealing cars), Benjamin Button the Cat (for he is graying, and frail, but is getting stronger with age!) and Little Piggie Cat (for he enjoys noshing on everything). Anyway, that doesn’t have anything to do with Books, but he likes to sit with me when I read so that counts for something. Here he is with his big brother cat: