October 2010 Archives

Click for availability and more information People: Television Shows That Changed Our Lives
 
I recently read People: Television Shows That Changed Our Lives, and it just jumped out at me with its "thumbnail" pictures of my favorite characters. This book said more to me by what it didn't say than what the text revealed inside. There were no deep, startling revelations. It contained pictures and brief descriptions of past shows and characters. Yet, it was organized in such a way that made you think about the significance of television as a reflection of society. For instance, the shows were grouped as crowd pleasers, game changers, cult classics, fashion, guilty pleasures and moments. It made me think of the first time I saw Star Trek. We really believed it despite the meager set. All in the Family challenged our social conscience. And everyone anxiously awaited the answer to "who shot J.R.?" Unlike the early days of television, programs began to address all kinds of social issues such as segregation, women's rights, teen pregnancies and homosexuality. This is a very entertaining book. I enjoyed its nostalgic nature. It's a quick and easy read, and it makes you think.
-Carl

The Red Queen

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Click for availability and more information The Red Queen, by Philippa Gregory
 
Readers who relish historical fiction, especially those novels set in medieval England, will rejoice with The Red Queen, Philippa Gregory's newest installment in her "Cousins War" series. Set during the Fifteenth Century War of the Roses, The Red Queen centers on the life of Margaret Beaufort, a member of the Lancaster family who is considered to be the matriarch of the Tudor Dynasty by her marriage to Edmund Tudor. That union led to the birth of the child who would become Henry VII. Margaret's life was one of constant scheming, plotting, and planning to further her son's rise to the English throne. This divisive era in English history pitted two branches of the Plantagenet family, Margaret's Lancasters (using a red rose in their family crest) and the Yorks (known for using a white rose in their crest) , against each other with each hoping to capture the prize of the English throne. Gregory does her usual wonderful job of making this complicated historical time come alive by making her characters larger than life and full of endless energy to advance their candidates to as ruler of England. This reviewer suggests The Red Queen can best be enjoyed by reading it shortly after completing Gregory's previous book The White Queen. Both are totally winning and terrific books!
-Roy

The Hunger Games

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Click for availability and more information The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
 
A solid, compelling YA science fiction novel, Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games (the first of a trilogy) keeps the reader's interest from start to finish. Set in an unspecified future where the United States has been replaced by the ruthless tyrannical nation of Panem, with the country divided into twelve "districts", Each year, as punishment for a failed revolt, the Capitol of Panem puts on the "Hunger Games", a competition between one boy and one girl ("tribunes") from each district between the ages of 12 -18, where they must fight to the death. Forced to substitute for her younger, less equipped sister, young sixteen year old Katniss, along with fellow District 12 tribune Peeta, must take part in the brutal contest, which is televised throughout the nation. But Katniss, who's a natural hunter, quickly proves to be a much smarter and formidable opponent, not just to her fellow contestants but also to Panem's rulers as well. Despite the fact that the "Games" plot device is an old science fiction standby (Frederic Brown's short story, Arena; various Star Trek episodes), author Collins manages to get a lot of mileage out of it. The resemblance to reality TV programs isn't a coincidence and Collins gets to both satirize and skewer the way citizens are made insensitive by such programming where kids not young enough to vote are forced to kill one another. Katniss has several tense episodes throughout the book, but thanks to the way Collins draws her character and background, we never once lose interest in her plight.

Now I'm ready to read the next book in the trilogy, Catching Fire, and I can't wait to see what happens next in the world of Panem.
-Ed

Midnight Magic

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Click for availability and more information Midnight Magic, by Avi
 
Can a servant boy and a magician save a princess from a ghost?
-Deirdre

Reckless

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Click for availability and more information Reckless, by Cornelia Funke
 
Jacob Reckless spent nights in his father's study searching for clues to why his father had vanished and left Jacob, his grief stricken mother and younger brother Will. At twelve, Jacob first discovered the magical mirror in that room which took him far away from his home to the Mirrorworld where fairy-tale stories of witches and gingerbread houses, sleeping princesses and ogres and dwarves were all true. Twelve years later, Jacob is a treasure hunter in this dangerous, volatile and dark world, collecting glass slippers, magical items and fairy tale treasures. He has always slipped through the mirror unknown, until his brother Will follows him through. Will is attacked and turned into one of the Goyle, the stone creatures who are the enemy of the kingdom. It is up to Jacob Reckless to follow shape shifters, dwarves and fairies on a seemingly hopeless quest to save his brother from this curse of the Mirrorworld. Cornelia Funke has created a great read, a dark story where not all is happily-ever after. The first in a new series. For readers grades 5 and up.
-Deirdre

Heist Society

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Click for availability and more information Heist Society, by Ally Carter
 
Katarina Bishop is fifteen years old and has grown up in the "family business", which happens to be stealing priceless art. Kat thought she could start a normal life by enrolling at an exclusive boarding school. Unfortunately, some old friends have other ideas. Kat is reluctantly drawn back into "the game" when she finds out that a dangerous mobster suspects her father of stealing his priceless paintings and has given her two weeks to return them.

Along with her team of accomplished teenage thieves, Kat rounds the globe to track down the paintings and pull off an impossible heist. The plot is filled with lavish settings, slick characters, and a good deal of suspense. This fast-paced and appealing book is nominated for a Teens' Top Ten.

Grades 7 - 10

-Catherine

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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