Saturday, July 27, 2013

Classical Clairvoyance

Classical Clairvoyance is where we ask our Tators which books they predict will win for the upcoming poll for our Goodreads book club. For October's poll, our winner is Persuasion so Laura's streak has sadly ended.  Aww.  However, she is tied with Karena on most correct answers! 

Our scores for right guesses so far are as follows: 

Angie -2
Heather - 1
Jared - 1
Jeane - 2
Karena - 3
Laura - 3

November's poll choices are for the category of 1910-1959:







Which novel do think is going to win the poll?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Graphic By Nature

This is the place for graphic novel reviews, but you won't find any traditional superheroes here. If you're like me, you enjoy your comics funny, strange, and sometimes a little dark. But you also value an interesting story and captivating illustration. Sounds like you? Keep reading!

Instead of the usual graphic novel review, this post will be different because last week was Comic-Con International in San Diego. I had the privilege of attending this year and wanted to share the two graphic novels I'm most looking forward to this autumn.

The main part of the convention is comprised of many booths inside of the convention center. To get an idea of what this looks like, check out the exhibit hall map. A lot of the booths not only offer an opportunity to purchase artwork, books, and a great variety of wares, but they also giveaway stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. I mailed myself an entire box of free books I picked up at the show, but that's a story for another post. One of the popular giveaway items was samplers: a sneak peek at upcoming books, comics, or graphic novels. There were two graphic novels that stood out to me as ones to watch for this fall after giving them a read.

Photo courtesy of Top Shelf Productions

March (Book One) is the first story in a trilogy of graphic novels depicting the life of Congressman John Lewis (GA-5)  a civil rights legend known as one of the "Big Six." Congressman Lewis co-wrote the story with aide Andrew Aydin. Artist Nate Powell brought the story to life with a traditional black and white comic style. This graphic novel will be the first ever authored by a sitting member of Congress. March looks not only to tell the story of Congressman Lewis but also to make the civil rights movement understood and accessible to generations that might not have been alive to experience it for themselves. View a sample by clicking here. Congressman Lewis was at Comic-Con this year to discuss and promote his graphic novel -- you can read more about it here.

March (Book One) goes on sale Tuesday, August 13th.

Photo courtesy of Yen Press

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was originally a novel by Ransom Riggs  As a novel it was on the New York Times Best Seller List for more than 52 consecutive weeks. And those are two facts were completely unknown to me before I picked up an exclusive excerpt of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel. This is the tall tale of a young man in search of the truth after witnessing his grandfather pass away. Grandpa Portman was always telling his grandson, Jacob, about the strange and wonderful people and places of his youth. As Jacob grew older, he believed all of Grandpa Portman's stories to be false -- until he witnessed something strange himself and went in search of Miss Peregrine in the hopes of finding answers. 

Artist Cassandra Jean incorporates the creepy pictures that made the novel famous into her work as she translates the original story into a graphic novel form that is both easy to read and exciting.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel goes on sale Tuesday, October 29th.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tator Tuesdays

Every week we ask our Tators bookish questions. This week's question is 

What book have you read that you weren't looking forward to, but ended up liking it a great deal? 



The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I was attending an informal book discussion group a year or two ago where it was on the list. One of the members said that, when she read it, it scared her so much she couldn’t sleep. That, coupled with the fact that the book talked a lot about architecture -- a topic I knew little to nothing about and had no interest in -- turned me off. However, while reading, I enjoyed learning about architecture, the World’s Fair, and H.H. Holmes. The research that went into the novel as well as the narrative Larson was able to weave together makes for a very compelling story that shouldn’t be missed!




 Life of Pi. I was not looking forward to that one at ALL, but ending up liking it a lot.


The Age of Innocence. I was about to give up on it and if it weren't for CWAtC, I would have stopped reading it early on. I ended up enjoying it very much, and this experience made me realize THAT is the reason why I joined CWAtC.

Do you have any books that surprised you?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wild @ Heart with YA Lit

Each month, I choose a different young adult novel to read for a number of reasons. One is that I like to keep up with the type of books my children and students are reading. Another is that reading young adult literature reminds me of the trials and tribulations of growing up. Reading YA literature keeps me wild at heart.


There is so much I enjoyed about Wonder by R.J. Palacio, I don't know where to begin. As a children's novel, there is much to be learned by any child who reads it. The lessons in the story cannot be missed and should linger to all who read it. As an adult reading this book, it is a great reminder of the awkward middle school years, somewhere in between being a child, completely dependent on his/her parents, and being a more independent teen. 

Wonder is about a young boy named August entering the fifth grade. He is completely average in most ways. He loves to watch television, is a huge Star Wars fan, loves to play his Xbox. Interestingly though, he is also going to school for the first time in his entire life. You see, he's been home-schooled his entire life in order to protect him from humiliating and degrading leers and jabs by other children. August, unfortunately, was born with a severe cranial-facial abnormality, one of such rare case that there was only a one in four million chance that he would get it. His face is so deformed that he won't even try to explain what he looks like and spent two years of his life wearing an astronaut helmet, hiding his face from public view. However, because this novel is told from the perspective of August, his sister, and a few other students and family friends, as we progress through the novel, we begin to get a more accurate picture of his facial traits. August is not a handsome boy.

Because August and his parents decide that it is time for him to go to school and try to adjust to having a more well-rounded education, he must face ridicule and bullying from other students. At times, this is a terrifying and heart-breaking task for August. One student actually runs away screaming and crying after seeing him for the first time. However, as time moves on, August makes friends with a few students that step forward in the darkest moments of August's fifth grade year with deep kindness, helping, protecting, and befriending him. 

Wonder is absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend it to all. It is well-written and filled with messages to last a lifetime. Read it for yourself. Read it with your children. Read it to your class. This book will lead to thoughtful discussions about what it means to be a kind person and a good friend.

Verdict: Bookshelf!

This Week in Literature

July is "Read an Almanac Month!"

July 21st - 27th

21 - Robert Burns dies, 1796
        Earnest Hemingway is born, 1899
        Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series, is published, 2007
22 - Ratcatcher's Day: A day to celebrate the day the Pied Piper got all the rats out of 
        Hamelin, 1284
23 - Raymond Chandler is born, 1888
24 - Zelda Sayre, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, is born, 1900
        O. Henry is released from prison after serving three years for embezzlement, 1901
25 - Samuel Taylor Coleridge dies, 1834
        Jack London leaves to join the Klondike Gold Rush, where he will write his first 
        successful stories, 1897
26 - George Bernard Shaw is born, 1856
        Jan Berenstain, co-author of the Berenstain Bears series, is born, 1923
27 - Alexandre Dumas fils is born, 1824
        Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness is published, 1928
        Gertrude Stein dies in Paris, 1946