Tuesday, September 30, 2008

happy banned books week

“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume

Spied on Bookshelves of Doom: A Quiz on Banned Books

I got 10 out of 13, which I thought was pretty good, but the computer scoring system didn't seem wildly impressed with me.

What's your score? And what's your favorite frequently banned or challenged book/author? I'm always a big fan of Robert Cormier and Judy Blume (she sure is showing up everywhere these days).

Also, are you keeping up with YA for Obama? Lots of interesting posts on there.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I see that both John Green's book (Paper Towns) and Donna Jo Napoli's (Smile) come out on October 16. It looks like many of us are interested in those books or are going to be reading them regardless of if they're chosen for book club, so let's go with those. Maybe between now and then, we can talk about some picture books (Rebecca suggested some in a previous post) and other random stuff. Sound good?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wordless PBs

I heard a lot of buzz about Suzy Lee's new picture book WAVE, so I took it out from the library. In fact, I've taken it out twice now. It's about a girl playing on the beach, interacting with the ocean and the waves that come on shore. Lee contrasts black & white parts of the illustrations  with blue parts (one shade of blue, one value).

It's a spirited book, but I can't bond with it.

My instinct is to say that I can't bond with it because of the details of the blue. It's a particularly medium shade of blue, one that I do not associate iconically with ocean; it's a slightly darker version of the blue often used symbolically for sky. Also, the fact that this book's blue is ONE hue only -- no bits of green, no navy, no gray -- and ONE value only (no shift of darkness/lightness) -- makes it hard for me to see the ocean in it. 

But it does change intensity (denseness; picture the same color with water added or water sucked out. Another word for intensity is saturation). And the compositions and figure are full of spirit.

Confession: I fear I have a problem with wordless picture books. I have a really hard time connecting with then. I haven't figured out why, but I think it's to do with pacing. I find myself skimming and flipping, going way too fast to do any page justice. I don't know why. With picture books that have only a few words per page, I do just fine: I take the pace any way I want to, any way the text and pictures tell me to, and it's all good. But when a picture book is wordless, my eyes and brain slip and slide over the surface. Can't find purchase.

Do you like wordless picture books? Why or why not? Do you read them with different pacing than picture books with words? Got any ideas for how I can appreciate them better?

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Summer flew by with not a whole lot of activity on the blog. But now it's fall, with that back-to-school feeling in the air (even if it's been a good number of years now since many of us have been in school), so it seems like a good time to start some new discussion.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a novel for a September/October read? I confess to never having cracked open Twilight. Book reviews and books I'd rather read took priority, but I hope to still read it some day.

I'm still interested in reading a few picture books, too, if anyone else is down for that. Ideas?

Also, fall always brings new books. What upcoming titles are you looking forward to? I'm excited for John Green's Paper Towns to be out. I'm also looking forward to Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta; Love and Lies, by Ellen Wittlinger; and The Runaway Dolls, by Ann M. Martin. And, of course, fall means that you can now swing into your favorite bookstore and pick up Kristin Cashore's Graceling!

As usual, I always like to know what everyone is reading, writing, or working on. I'm glad to see Meaghan posted about her YA class and asked for suggestions. Not only will she surely get a load of ideas, but we can all update our reading lists, too!

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Hello Misfits Bloggers!

I'm taking a YA lit. class this semester; in addition to the assigned novels, I have to read and review 10-15 books (fiction and non) that were written expressly for teens. They should be relatively contemporary, covering a variety of genres, and something you would be likely to find in a public library. So far, I've picked out Looking for Alaska and Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. Any suggestions?

In case you're wondering what's on the assigned list (and I know you are), here it is:
  • Forever by Judy Blume
  • Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly
  • Fast Talk on a Slow Track by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
  • Peeps by Scott Westerfield
  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
  • Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman by Eleanor Updale
  • Dr. Franklin's Island by Ann Halam
  • Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block
  • Any book from the Gossip Girl series
  • The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean