Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fat Girl Books

So I've been in the mood lately to read books that have the protagonist as "fat" or one could say a "normal" size. Here are a couple of books that have the main character as heftier or chubbier and my scale (ha- pun not intended) of whether they're worth reading or not:
scale= 1-5 with 5 being the highest

Artichoke's Heart
- 2 1/2
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things- 3
Squashed- 3 1/2
Jemima J- 4 ( though it is an adult book and is a little dirty but it is still a good read)
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging- 5 (very very funny and the main character is a well endowed, hilarious, narrator)
The Sugar Queen
- 3 1/2
My Cup Runneth Over- 4 (I haven't read it but my roommate thinks they're pretty good)
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes- 4
The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp- 4 1/2
Fairest- 5 (I'm pretty sure that she's slightly bigger)

"Fat girl fiction" has seemed to take off and these are only a few books out there with main characters seen as fat by the general public.

Speed Readers

So I have a roommate who speed reads. Let's just say that I'm jealous of her and I want to kill her (in a loving way). Not only does she read a ton in a shorter amount of time, she reads all of the books that I want to read but can't because I'm human. At least twice a week I come home with a pile of books for her to devour- it's gotten to the point where I actually have to scour the shelves for more books because all of the ones that come in the back room she's already read, or are already in her looming pile. I felt like a drug dealer at first, but now I feel like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel to find things that are a) clean b) entertaining and something she'll like and c) one she hasn't read yet. Let me tell you- it's hard work. However, it's good for me because she's like my reading filter. I find books that look interesting to me, bring them home, tell her to read them, and then get her opinion and a synopsis of it 2 days later. It's great when I don't know whether or not I want to invest my time into each book, because I've already made her do it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

This Norwegian fairy tale is one of my favorites and I've read two versions that have been good spins on the classic tale. Edith Pattou's East and Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow both tell the same tell, but are different in many ways that you wouldn't think that they were originated from the same tale, except for of course the key elements that claim it as the classic. Both books were entertaining, and I recommend them to everyone. It's refreshing to read a fairytale once in a while that hasn't been slaughtered by Disney (not saying that Disney ruins everything, they just enhance/create new stories). When I read both books I couldn't help but finish them once I had started. Though I pretty much knew how both were going to end (it is a little predictable because it's a fairytale and so you know it's going to have a happy ending) but it's the journey that it took to get to that happy ending.

Just in case you were wondering, the basic gist of the story is that the main character is the youngest of several children, born to a family that is struggling to survive. As she grows up she learns that something greater is awaiting her in her future, which is about the time that a great white polar bear shows up at her front door demanding that she live with him. Realizing that her destiny is awaiting, and with the prodding of her parents to embark (due to the bounteous riches she and her family will gain if she goes) she decides to leave. She ends up in an elaborate castle with anything and everything she's ever wanted, though at night when she lies down to sleep, a man gets into bed with her (not like THAT) and sleeps beside her. She is plagued by the mystery of who the man is because it's too dark to see him each night, and each morning when she wakes he is no longer there.

I don't want to tell anymore of the story because if I do I'll give the second half of the story away, but just know that both books are phenomenal and great reads.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Young Adult Lit Class

So I'm taking a YA lit class at BYU and we have a set of in class reading that we have to do as well as guidelines for our outside reading. Here's a list of what we have to read this semester:

The Outsiders
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Buried Onions
Robert Cormier book- (we had to choose a book from a list of Cormier books which were, I am the Cheese, Tenderness, After the First Death, The Chocolate War, Tunes for Bears to Dance To, or Rag and Bone Shop. I chose Tenderness, which was the "worst" of them. By worst I mean it was the grittiest and had the least hope for mankind compared to the rest. If you've ever read Cormier you know that you're not in for a "light" read.)
Running Loose
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Out of the Dust
Blue Skin of the Sea
Howl's Moving Castle
Make Lemonade
American Born Chinese

We also have required "elective" reading which is:

Read at least one YA book by each of the following authors:
Laurie Halse Anderson
M.T. Anderson
Kevin Brooks
Lurlene McDaniel
Gary Paulsen
Paul Volponi
Jacqueline Woodson

Read at least one YA book from each of the following categories:
audio book
fantasy, science fiction, horror, or suspense
old time 'juvenile' fiction (pre-1920)
LDS author: [choose one] Crowe, Ellis, Heuston, Hughes, Leavitt, Plummer, Rallison, Randle
graphic novel
Printz Award winner or honor book

The good thing about the elective reading is that you can double dip or kill 2 birds with one stone by listening to a romantic fantasy book, which kills three items. I'll make a list of what I've read once I've got most of them read. I'm telling you, I really wish I could speed read to get in everything that I want to read.

Summer Reading Reality Check

So here's an update on what I actually read from my summer reading list. Though of course I didn't get to every author on the list, or at least some of them, I did make the attempt.

Sharon Creech: Heartbeat

C.S. Lewis: Prince Caspian

Meg Cabot: Ready or Not

Janet Evanovich:
One for the Money

Two for the Dough
Three to Get Deadly
Four to Score
High Five
Hot Six
Seven Up
Hard Eight
To the Nines
Ten Big Ones
Visions of Sugar Plums

Gail Carson Levine:

Ella Enchanted
The Fairy's Return
For Biddle's Sake

That was as far as I got as to reading things by authors on my summer reading list. I do make that list bigger than I could possibly ever read, but I like to have variety. I must say thought that Janet Evanovich captured most of my attention- especially since the protagonist has two main love interests.