Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Catching Up on my Reading/Reviewing

Thanks to school testing, I was able to catch up on my reading over the past few days while working as a substitute. The teacher I was subbing for yesterday and today was assigned to “hall duty”…which basically means you sit in one of the hallways making sure kids aren’t talking in the halls about the test, kids find the correct room and aren’t goofing off in the halls, and giving the testing teachers breaks or running emergency errands for them. It’s fairly boring most of the time, so I was told to bring a book to keep myself busy when I wasn’t needed by a teacher. So I sat there in my comfy rolling chair (the teacher I was subbing for told me to bring his desk chair out into the hall), reading my books and writing out this little blog.

Yesterday, I finally finished reading my 6th book of the year, which means I’m keeping up a good pace up with 2-3 books per month. I started (and finished) 3 books in January and started (and almost finished) 3 books in February. Of course, this last “February” book took me about 3 weeks to finish…

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman: I loved the originality, dark humor, and magical hints of this book as well as its wonderful and “scary” characters. The book is the story of Nobody “Bod” Owens, a young boy raised in a graveyard by ghosts after his family is murdered. Each chapter is a different tale from his life, which made it feel more like a collection of short stories with an over-arching storyline than a regular linear plotline book. The characters in this book were the best part for me. (I’m a very character-driven type of reader and writer. If I can’t connect, relate, or feel something for the characters, I lose interest in the story.) The main character Bod was adorable and I loved seeing him grow and develop, but my favorite character was his mysterious guardian, Silas. (Though, I have to confess that I was already a little bias towards the character since he has the same name as my younger brother.) Now the book does deal with some darker topics (death, murder, ghosts, monsters, loss, injustice), but it also deals with life lessons (courage, hope, love, making friends, learning new things) that go along with growing up. All these issues are presented in a simplified, humorous, and magical way. Recommend if you enjoy atypical “ghost” stories, humorous misadventures, or heart-warming stories with a unique twist.

Today I started my 7th book of the year (and 1st “March” book). It’s a book I’ve read before, but it was over 14 years ago back when I was in middle school. I vaguely remembered the plot and the characters of the book, but I knew I really enjoyed it as a preteen. I recently discovered that the book is actually the first book in a series, so I decided to go back and reread this book before continuing on to read the other 3 books.

Immediately as I started reading it, the story began to come back to me including the ending. Reading it a second time is revealing how well the story is woven together and the secrets the author hints at along the way. I also understand the characters and the cultural setting much more. (The story is set in a variation of ancient Greece in both physical descriptions of the landscape, the cultural mentions, and the religious stories told by the characters.) I like having this new perspective of the book as I read it. And even though I know the ending, it’s still a bit of a mystery to me about how characters and plot progress. I’ll post more about it once I finish it. =)

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