20. August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Poetry, Reviewer, Short Stories · Tags: ,

Welcome to Bordertown : new stories and poems of the Borderlands by ed Holly Black and Ellen Kushner ; introduction by Terri Windling. Neil Gaiman, 516 pages, read by Kira, on 08/18/2013

wel bordtbordt lives  The premise of the series of bordtown wallinterlinked short stories is that the in-between town aka Bordertown where elves essential_border_cover_artand hret bordumans can co-exist has been closed to travel between the realms for the last 13 bordtown livesyears, and has now opened up again [its also been 13 years since the previous Bordertown collection of short stories].  What was 13 days in bord townBordertown itself, was 13 years in the World (of humans).  The short stories are really a mixed bag.  A couple focused on the theme of immigrants in the US.  Many focused on the problem of Elf borderland_cover_secondSuperiority – or the racism of the elves.

I didn’t care for  Ours bordtonnis the Prettiest by Nalo Hopkinson (didn’t really fit in this world), nor We do NOT come in Peace by Christopher Barzak (protagonist is soo depressed).  But most disappointing was the Neil Gaiman piece was just a short poem, and imho not a very good one, I couldn’t wait til black-coat-elfit ended.bordertown__when_you_give_an_elf__

30. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Lisa, Poetry · Tags:

Hidden by Helen Frost, 147 pages, read by Lisa, on 07/16/2013

When Wren Abbott and Darra Monson are eight years old, Darra’s father steals a minivan. He doesn’t know that Wren is hiding in the back. The hours and days that follow change the lives of both girls. Darra is left with a question that only Wren can answer. Wren has questions, too.

Years later, in a chance encounter at camp, the girls face each other for the first time. They can finally learn the truth – that is, if they’re willing to reveal to each other the stories that they’ve hidden for so long. Told from alternating viewpoints, this novel-in-poems reveals the complexities of memory and the strength of a friendship that can overcome pain.

31. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Poetry

You Come Too by Robert Frost, 94 pages, read by Janet, on 04/23/2013

These are favorite poems for young readers by Robert Frost.  Being simple, direct, often outdoors related poems, this was a pleasent book to read.  Robert Frost looked with understanding on the people, animals, and scenery around him.  Many of his best-known poems are in this collection: “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening”, “The Death of the Hired Man”, and “The Road Not Taken”.  He said that a poem “begins with delight” and that feeling runs through his poetry.You Come Too

31. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Poetry

Edna St. Vincent Millay - Selected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay, 162 pages, read by Janet, on 04/23/2013

Edna St. Vincent millay was a very intellectual, sophisticated poet whose work involves a bit more deep thinking than most work I have been reading lately.  She projects unhappiness in many of her poems, perhaps from her feminist or political unrest with society, or her decline in health in later years.  She has been described as “a militantly political feminist” yet is able to present love as a passionate surrender in some poEdna St. Vincent Millayems.  Her poems asre not fast reading, but give much feeling and information as digested.

14. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Joyce, Poetry, Teen Books

Learning to Swim: A Memoir by Ann Turner, 115 pages, read by Joyce, on 04/25/2013

Six-year-old Annie’s world is shattered when she is forced to carry a horrible secret: Under the pretense of reading to her, an older boy molests her, threatening her if she ever tells. Only when her mother pries out the secret is Annie released from her horror and isolation. Slowly she begins to heal, and before the summer is over, she even learns to swim.

02. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kim, Poetry

Dream Work by Mary Oliver, 90 pages, read by Kim, on 05/02/2013

Mary Oliver’s poems are alright but she’s definitely not my favorite poet.

02. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kim, Poetry

Sweet Home, Saturday Night by David Baker, 94 pages, read by Kim, on 05/01/2013

Great poems and a fast read!

02. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Mystery, Poetry, Tammy

Who Killed Mr. Chippendale by Mel Glenn, 100 pages, read by Tammy, on 04/13/2013

who killed mrA collection of poems that start with the thoughts of our murder victim, high school teacher, Mr. Chippendale, right before his untimely demise. Each poem that follows is the thoughts or police interview with students, teachers, neighbors and the police detectives themselves. The finale poem reveals who the murderer is with clues along the way in the poems to point you in that direction.

02. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Poetry, Tammy

Songs of a Sun Lover by Robert Service, 184 pages, read by Tammy, on 04/30/2013

A collection of poems from Robert Service who is best known for his poems set in the Yukon such as “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. Most of the poems in this collection are set around his home in Ireland and with everyday experiences and people. They still tell a clear story and he pulls you into the lives of the poems’ narrators.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kira, NonFiction, Poetry

My brother's book by Maurice Sendak, 31 pages, read by Kira, on 04/28/2013

SendakPoetry.  sendak-233This was a book about longing to be reunited with those you’ve loved.  I had to read it 3 times through, to get a full sense of the narrative.  Even then, the poetic lines are open to multiple interpretatsendak grions, feeling like the mist slipping through ones fingers.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Multicultural Fiction, Poetry, Teen Books

The Good Braider by Terry Farish, 213 pages, read by Courtney, on 04/20/2013

Viola lives with her mother and young brother in war-torn Sudan. All the men are either dead or fighting and soldiers prowl throughout the town, taking whatever they wish. After Viola is raped by one of these soldiers, the family decides to attempt a move to America. First they must travel out of Sudan and into Egypt, where they live in a refugee camp while waiting for the appropriate documents. It takes many long months to get the paperwork in order, but they are finally able to travel to America. Viola and her mother move to Portland, Maine, where a large Sudanese population has already been established. There, Viola attempts to piece her life back together while trying to balance life as both a girl from Juba and her new life as an American teen.
Told entirely in spare, lyrical verse, this novel is lovely addition to the immigrant-story genre. Viola’s experiences are painful, but her hope is palpable. This story sheds light on a part of the world that many American teens spend little time thinking about. The trajectory that Viola’s life takes is breathtaking, realistic and honest. We, as Americans, are so used to thinking about a country’s borders as something writ in stone, however, the borders of many countries in Africa are more or less arbitrary and were imposed largely by Western colonialist powers. Thus, when civil war breaks out, it is not necessarily because the country is divided, more that the country was never exactly unified in the first place. In fact, this story takes place shortly before South Sudan gains its independence. Readers will feel for Viola as she struggles not only to survive the journey out of Sudan but as she attempts to reconcile the cultural differences she must face as a new American. A moving and memorable read.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Poetry

Lies, Knives and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge, 88 pages, read by Courtney, on 04/10/2013

Here’s one that’s a must-read for more mature fans of fairy tales. Koertge takes well-known stories from the fairy tale cannon and turns them completely on their heads. In poetry form. Which is totally awesome. Many authors have difficulty getting their point across in 400 pages. Ron Koertge can tell a complete story in a single poem. And this book has tons of them! I loved these post-modern renditions; they feel simultaneously both truer to their original forms than many other modern adaptations and feel more contemporary than ever before. A fun, thought-provoking and fast read.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kim, Poetry · Tags:

Crossing the Water by Sylvia Plath, 56 pages, read by Kim, on 04/30/2013

Crossing the Water is some of Plath’s best work!

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Poetry, Teen Books

Glimpse by Carol Lynch Williams, 496 pages, read by Angie, on 04/29/2013

Hope and Lizzie have always been the closest of sisters. Then one day Hope catches Lizzie with a gun. Suddenly, Lizzie is in the hospital and Hope doesn’t know why. She doesn’t know why Lizzie tried to kill herself or why she has been crying at night for the last few months. Her mom has secrets too. Secrets she is scared of people finding out. Their mom has been a prostitute for a while now; she says it is better money than working at the Piggly-Wiggly and she needs money now that dad is gone. Slowly, over the course of the summer, Hope finds out what happened to Lizzie and her whole world changes.

Novels in verse are somehow more powerful than regular novels. The sparse text has to convey so much and that gives it more weight and meaning some how. Hope and Lizzie’s story is a tragic one. You will guess Lizzie’s secret long before Hope, but like Hope you hope it isn’t true. How can a mother be that evil, that heartless towards her own child? Truly powerful story that can be read in a very short period of time. It will break your heart, but it is worth it.

29. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Poetry · Tags:

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou, 32 pages, read by Brian, on 04/29/2013

Four of Maya Angelou’s greatest poems about woman and life are put into one book.  Celebration is one her finest gifts.


29. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Fiction, Poetry · Tags:

Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou, 32 pages, read by Brian, on 04/29/2013

Maya Angelou is one of the world’s greatest poets. Brave and Startling Truth is one of her most inspiring books of poetry.  Highly recommended.


29. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Madeline, Poetry

This is my Body; poems by Terry Song, 69 pages, read by Madeline, on 04/22/2013

This first book of poems dwells in lived experience-women and farms, women and men,raising kids, cooking bread, the front porch, the marriage bed. Terry Song has an uncanny ear for real voices.

29. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Kim, Poetry

News From Down to the Cafe by David Lee, 145 pages, read by Kim, on 04/28/2013

Even if you don’t read much poetry I guarantee you will love David Lee’s poems!!! He is absolutely hilarious!!!!!

29. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Janet, Poetry

Class Dismissed! by Mel Glenn, 96 pages, read by Janet, on 04/27/2013

Class Dismissed

This a very good selection of teen-age poems showing their thoughts and feelings. Some mentioned others who were writing, but most were entirely about their own thoughts. These poems show how teens work out changes from childhood to growing into adulthood – the problems in between. There were teen pictures also, that seemed to fit the poems, but were really taken by an assistant principal for science in a different high school. It is easy to go mentally back into that age while reading these poems.

27. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Poetry, Teen Books

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill, 336 pages, read by Angie, on 04/26/2013

The events of the Salem Witch Trials are fairly well known. Young girls started having fits and claimed to be attacked by witches. Many were accused, some died, but most were eventually freed. We do not know what motivated these girls to accuse so many (around 200) people of cavorting with the devil. Hemphill attempts to shed light on what might have driven these girls down such a path. She uses the voices of three of the afflicted, Mercy, Margaret and Ann, to tell the story of Salem. In Wicked Girls, the girls are not being attacked by the devil, but are acting in order to gain status and attention in the town. It all starts out as a game as they accuse those who have wronged them or their families. But remorse sets in when people actually start to die because of their accusations. This novel in verse very accurately captures the paranoia and frenzy that infected the area. It shows how lives were ruined and communities divided.