Tuesday, March 10, 2009

+ The One I Forgot.

Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. I'm not sure I'd consider this Newbery Material. The majority of the writing seemed more like a free-verse poem, repeating a focal word and running on a bit long: "Once more he reached over to the pilot and touched him on the face, but the skin was cold, hard cold, death cold, and Brian turned back to the dashboard" (p. 23). If you can image an entire book in that style, you'll understand that it became a little unpleasant to read after a while. I'm not really going to address the realism of Brian's character, because this book was written in the 80's, and it was probably very good and insightful for its time, but today's readers might pick up on it. Unlike some other young adult novels that really do get into the mind of the adolescent characters, this book definitely feels like it was written by an adult. A Short History of Medicine, by F. Gonzalez-Grussi. I'm nearly half way through this book, but it's kicking my butt and I've got other stuff I'd rather like to read instead. I'm not sure if the author is trying to hard, or if he really talks like this, but the vocabulary is a little thick even for me, and my reading vocabulary is usually pretty good. He also bops around in time a little bit as he changes topics, and, with all the names, it can be a little hard to keep track of. When I chose this book, I saw how small it was and thought it would be a good overview, just the right mixture of brevity and depth, but the text is rather small and squashed together, and it is rather heavy reading. So in addition to not being entirely accessible, it will also tire out your eyes with its size 10 font and less-than-single-spacing. I'm sometimes confused by nonfiction books like this one, because it isn't set up to be an information souces-- no one would use this for a school report, for example. But it is also not fun, approachable, or terribly enjoyable to the average reader. If anyone actually reads this for fun, it would have to be a very limited audience.

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