Friday, September 09, 2011

my conclusion is:

I really like sixth graders-- hanging out with them, talking with them, developing programming for them-- but I'm not attracted to sixth-grade appropriate literature.  Why is that?

Shakespeare Undead, by Lori Handeland.  Who thought it was a good idea to write a book set at the crux of the 16th and 17th centuries in completely modern language?  I know I've complained in the past about authors who try to affect accents or speech styles, or copy a writing style and miserably fail, but a book set 500 years ago that sounds exactly like something you could hear at the mall turns out to also be a disaster.  At least the author could have skipped fragments or otherwise made an attempt at really good English.
But the zombie thing might hook kids.  Our copy has checked out 3 times so far; it looks like we got it in late January.  Not exactly what I would have hoped for in terms of stellar circulation, but not terrible.

Beyond Human: Living with Robots and Cyborgs, by Gregory Benford and Elisabeth Malartre.  This is a little thick, not supremely readable; maybe good for reports, but not for fun informational reading.

The Princess Diaries, Princess in the Spotlight, and Princess in  Love, by Meg Cabot.  I had previously decided these aren't appropriate for my middle-school book talks, and I stand by that, but I can also see why teens (and, ok, me, too) like this series.  It's not exactly realistic, and it's not that girls *want* to be Mia, but I think most girls can identify with her, her disastrous life and the type of mistakes she makes and how she feels.  What always really grabs me is when we get to see the day-to-day of a character's life, the boring eat and going to school stuff, not just the big events. 
The thing I dislike is that, like the Georgia Nicholson series, the character doesn't seem to have time to enter her diary entries at the time they happen.  Or she writes amazingly quickly.  That kind of takes away a little bit for me, because it takes away some of the realism, but I'm sure many others won't notice.
This is probably the only time I'll say this this year, so mark your calendars: I think the movie tells a better story than the books.  Of course, it's not so much the story readers are interested, but their relationships with Mia.  (Looks like the movie is a jumble/abbreviation of the first four (?) books.)

Wickedly Charming, by Kristine Grayson.  I ordered this because it sounded interesting, but honestly I expected a crappy romance novel.  Actually this was quite good, not graphic scenes, although still a romance.  It reminded me a little bit of Lackey's 500 Kingdoms series, which I like quite a lot also. 
My ongoing annoyance through the whole book was, some would consider, pretty minor, but I was glad when the book ended: one of the characters has two children, both girls, but throughout the book they are referred to as the "oldest" and "youngest" instead of "older" and "younger."  No one else has a problem with this?

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