Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s going to be a busy weekend for me, so let’s get things started with a few book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

1. Where Fish Go In Winter by Amy Goldman Koss
Loved this intro science Q&A book as a kid. Spoiler alert: fish are under the ice.

2. Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Not sure the Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders would have caved that quickly.

3. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
The series should have ended here; stakes felt highest. (Haha, stakes.)

4. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight trans. by Simon Armitage
Read this and kept thinking “‘It’s just a flesh wound!”

5. Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman
Mini-sequel to His Dark Materials doesn’t quite hold its own, but loved seeing Lyra again.

Friday Fifteen

Happy November, everyone! What better way to start the month off than with a few book reviews in fifteen words or fewer?

1. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
A fun read in companion with Harry Potter 7. “The Tale of the Three Brothers” especially feels like a real folktale.

2. Both Sides Of Time by Caroline B. Cooney
Romance and time travel in Victorian New York. Reread this a lot as a kid.

3. The Sunnydale High Yearbook by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder
Season 3 was the best, and I was totally the target audience.

4. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Can see why it was so influential, but never connected to Stephen Dedalus.

5. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Handford
In a world where red-striped shirts rule, one man stands alone…in a huge crowd.

Links Galore

Lots of good links for today:

What’s in a Name?

I love this list of beloved literary characters who were almost named something else. I can’t imagine the brightest witch of her age being called “Hermione Puckle.”

When I first started The Chance You Won’t Return, main character Alexandra “Alex” Winchester was almost called Winnie. As in Winnie Cooper or Winnie Foster. Both of which are characters that live in a historical setting.

Not exactly what I was looking for in my contemporary YA novel.

I can’t remember how I settled on Alex, exactly, but that was what she became almost immediately after I decided I needed to change her name. It felt like her–casual, kind of sporty, someone who’s used to blending in while still being a thoughtful observer.

I settled on Winchester pretty quickly, too. The story’s set in a fictional small town in Virginia and, while driving down for my second year at UVa, my car broke down in Winchester, VA. It felt like a little high five to a town that got me on the road again.

Do your character names tend to evolve over time, or do they spring to mind fully named?

(image: multisanti)

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s starting to feel like fall, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Other things I’m happy about? Book reviews in fifteen words or less. Onto the reviews!

1. Three Junes by Julia Glass
Clear, elegant prose. The second June, from Fenno’s POV, stayed with me most.

2. Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
Quiet, lovely writing. Expected something different, but would like to reread.

3. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
Beatrice and Benedict might be Shakespeare’s best couple. “Another Hero!” line is a clunker.

4. Felicity Learns a Lesson (American Girls: Felicity #2) by Valerie Tripp
I still think about Felicity when I say no to more coffee/tea.

5. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
The costs of urbanization as only Burton can tell it. Great illustrations, of course.

Friday Fifteen

Man, did I need Friday. Let’s celebrate with a few fifteen-word (or fewer) book reviews:

1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Now I know what everyone’s been raving about for the last year. Read it now.

2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Wasn’t a read-aloud in our house; what stands out for me is the color palette.

3. A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt
I watched a few episodes of The Tudors and recognized characters because of this play.

4. All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen and Jory John
I should read this aloud to houseplants as a warning.

5. Claudia and the New Girl (The Baby-sitters Club, #12 by Ann M. Martin
I learned about Andrew Wyeth from this book. Well played, Martin.

Links Galore

A few links to round out the week:

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday from Savannah! To kick of a Southern retreat weekend, let’s check out some fifteen-word (or fewer) reviews of Southern stories.

1. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Touching story about the isolation we all feel; loved reading it with ASL studies.

2. Sounder by William H. Armstrong
Early into the book, the dog gets shot. Things go downhill from there. Sad stuff.

3. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
I remember the act of reading this and the cover well, just not the story.

4. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Depression-era black family confronts racism; not as crushing as Sounder. School scenes stuck with me.

5. Georgia Music by Helen V. Griffith
Girl visits grandfather, they bond over “Georgia music.” Next summer he has dementia, I cry.

Don’t Hate Boo Radley, Hate the Game

In college, my friend a professor whom we all described as the filmmaker version of Shaft. He was a dedicated teacher, a bold and thoughtful filmmaker, and his syllabus included the phrase “Get ya asses to class.” Needless to say, his students loved him.

Thug Notes has a similar approach to the canon of English literature. Sparky Sweets, PhD recaps the plot of classic novels and dives into the major themes of the books. For example, his take on To Kill a Mockingbird:

Even cooler? In the Youtube comments, people are clamoring for Sweets to tackle other works of English literature. Most badass way to get people involved in literature ever.

(via Book Riot)

Links Galore

Lots of great links to start your week: