Sunday, January 31, 2010

continuing on...

I've been sidetracked by life and a few good books, but we're back on track going over the 2010 Lone Star list!  Today's pick...Pop by Gordon Korman. 
As you can tell by the cover, Pop is a book about football--and it is phenomenal.  Gordon Korman is a master at the craft of writing, and it is evident in this wonderful book. 

16-year-old Marcus is new to town and practices for upcoming team tryouts in the park by himself until he meets the town eccentric and hometown-boy-made-good, Charlie "Pop" Popovich,  Pop is a former NFL player who meets Marcus in the park and not only plays football with a fearlessness Marcus rarely sees.  It is weird, though, how Pop almost acts like a teenager himself, and comes and goes throughout the town as he pleases, with no seeming rhyme nor reason.  

At football tryouts it is evident that Marcus has made an enemy---unfortunately this enemy also happens to be Charlie's son Troy.  Determined to keep the family secret, Troy is guarded and unfriendly. 

In the end, Marcus learns the truth--that his friend is suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's Disease and that the cause of it is his beloved POP--not only his nickname, but the sound and feel of helmets and bodies crashing into each other on the field.  It is what Charlie, and Marcus too, have lived for.  This leads to some very difficult decisions for Marcus.  What is betrayal of a friend?  What is really in his best interest?  Does his family always get the last word--and do they really know what's best for Pop?

This book is a wonderful and touching story of football and friendship. I highly recommend it!   

Sunday, January 24, 2010

coming soon....

Rick Riordan's wildly successful and fabulous Percy Jackson series is coming soon to a theater near you!  the movie opens on February 12th, so time is running out if you haven't yet read the first book, The Lightning Thief.  

This is a fantastic adventure story in which the Greek gods are alive and well and living in New York City.  You simply MUST read this series...I cannot stress it enough!

Follow THIS LINK to see information on the cast and crew, view movie trailers, etc. 

Follow THIS LINK to visit the official Percy Jackson & the Olympians website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One of the Survivors by Susan Shaw

I have a history of loving Susan Shaw's work, so when I pulled this new one out of the box I couldn't wait to get started.   And even though I knew...knew that it wasn't going to be one of those happy happy joy joy books, it hit me like a sucker punch.  Gut-wrenching is perhaps the word that describes it best.  Poignant and thought-provoking and hard and real are others that come close. 

I've experienced the frustration of the office testing and retesting the fire alarm system all day.  Of the constant interruptions on the loud-speaker.  THIS IS ONLY A TEST.  again and again and again until you are ready to scream.  It is equally trying for the teachers and students, too.  You just want it to shut up.  Pretty soon you ignore it as best you can. 

I've also had the experience of my school burning down.  My situation was different, though, because it happened on a holiday and no one was in the building.  We were all safe, unlike Joey and Maureen's classmates. 

Joey has recently lost his mom in a house fire, so he jumps everytime it sounds.  Even with his history teacher droning on and on.  Even when they say its just a test. 
And sounds again...only this time the message is garbled.  static in the background.  What are they saying? is it just an alarm again? surely it is.  right? 

Joey knows he can't stay in that room. Every instinct is pounding in him to GET OUT.  He, along with his best friend Maureen leave despite the promise of detention from his yelling teacher who refuses to leave.  No one else defies the teacher.  No one else survives.

Survivor guilt coupled with hate-filled shouts of "murderer" make life incredibly difficult for a while.  And then, through journaling and artwork healing slowly beings.  And Joey is invited to speak at the tree-planting ceremony at the memorial for his lost classmates.

"They want me to come and talk about the sketch and why I drew what I drew. That picture. I bled to draw it. Those pencil lines are my blood that flowed from my veins. I didn't draw it to be smart or funny or creative or because I was bored or anything like that.  I had to record that moment. It was important, maybe the most important thing I've ever done.  That drawing shows all there is to show the moment that everything changed." 

Read this book.  It will change you.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

not a 2010 Lone Star, but...

I just can't wait any longer to tell you guys about Scott Westerfeld's steampunk brilliance....LEVIATHAN.

The lush cover hints at the fabulousness of the book itself---and even better, there are more illustrations within.  (short brag moment...I was able to see the full-color original drawings for this work at TLA last year where Scott was showing them around at a dinner party...I know, I know...fabulous!)

Set in an alternate version of World War I, this work deftly weaves history as we know it with steampunk elements and the addition of a few purely fictional characters.  It tells the tale of a prince who must make an escape so secretive that even he doesn't know about it, as well as the story of a young girl with a dream that is impossible for a girl to achieve at that point in history--so she disguises herself as a boy in order to join the British air service. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and am eagerly awaiting the second installment! 

Check out Scott's official website, has an amazing amount of great information on it.

For those of you not familiar with steampunk, you can read more about it by following the link. 

Friday, January 1, 2010


New Year's Day is a time for both reflection on the past year as well as looking forward and setting goals for the year ahead.  And today is especially special, if you will, since it is the dawn of not only a new year, but a new decade, as well. 

I've had the joy of having a great family, an amazing job (well, most of the time anyway), and the pleasure of reading some fabulous books this past year.  I've even had the time to read a couple of "grown up" books over the holidays--both fantastic--The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and An Echo in the Bone--before I begin this year's Lone Star hopefuls reading in earnest.

Speaking of Lone Stars...this is the beginning of my final year on the committee. Man, it just about breaks my heart to say it---I have been challenged and have grown so much from being on this committee and working with the amazing people who have been a part of it. 

I've heard it said that the way you spend your time on New Year's Day is an indication of how you'll spend the entire new year.  If that's the case, then I'm definitely covering my bases....reading, writing (journal and attempting a novel! as well as blogging, spending time with friends and family and just taking some quiet time to think and BE.  Oh yes, I ate my black-eyed-peas and cabbage today, too...yep, covering ALL my bases!

A happy new year to all...may 2010 bring to you the wonders of your mind and the joys of your heart.