I really wasn't sure that I would like Cinder; after all, futuristic fiction is not really my style (although I do have my favorites). However, it received good reviews when it was released, and it's been plenty popular with our teen patrons (and fans of YA literature), so I decided that I needed to give it a try. Happily, I REALLY got a kick out of this, and it served as a good reminder to not prejudge books! Cinder is the tale of Cinderella, dystopian style. Cinder is a cyborg and an outcast in her family. A terminal plague is terrorizing New Beijing; when her beloved stepsister (the only stepsister she likes) falls victim, Cinder begins to discover her true identity (if you're paying attention, you may guess the final reveal, which is still shocking nonetheless). Of course, there is a handsome young prince as well that figures into the picture. Let me tell you--I could not put this down. If you liked Matched, you need to read this. Trust me. Happily, Marissa Meyer is continuing the Lunar Chronicles in a four book series, with Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood (Scarlet is the next volume, out in February 2013), and Rapunzel making appearances. So awesome and quite clever.
A Passion for Victory: The Story of the Olympics in Ancient and Modern Times
This is an excellent overview of the ancient and modern Olympic movement, beginning with the ancient Greeks and concluding with the 1936 Berlin Games (an epilogue touches on subsequent Olympics, including the American boycott of the 1980 Games and the resulting boycott from the Russians for the 1984 Games). Folks, there were some weird sports back (way back) in the day: not only my personal favorite, tug-of war, but shin kicking and a form of tennis that you play with your hand. Yikes. Shin kicking. Really? This was back in the 1600s when England held its own Olympic-style games. They wore very spiky boots. Imagine being the world champion of shin kicking. And playing tennis with your hands? What genius thought that was a good idea? Ouch! Very entertaining and informative--be aware that the Holocaust is touched upon in the 1936 Berlin Games section.
Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection
A.J. Jacobs is the king of "do a wacky experiment for a year and write a book about it" genre. While I found The Know It All (in which he read the Encyclopedia Britannica in its entirety) profoundly annoying yet riveting, I was captivated by The Year of Living Biblically (in which he followed biblical rules as literally as possible). His latest experiment, Drop Dead Healthy, finds him following a multitude of healthy living and exercise regiments; each chapter focuses on a specific body part or system. Jacobs is at his most personal and thoughtful here, drawing upon intimate family moments (two important family members die during the course of this book).
Check out my latest guest post (Make Some Noise and Move Those Feet) on the ALSC blog.
Our summer reading program ENDS this Saturday, August 11th. This summer has flown by!