Friday, November 2, 2012

Books Read in October

Hello fellow book lovers!  I know I'm joining the blog late in the year, but I look forward to sharing some of my latest reads with you.  I currently work as the elementary librarian at an international school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, so I spend a lot of time reading YA fiction in hopes that I'll find some great books to recommend to my students.  These are a few titles that I read in October: (I had some vacation time and extra time to read-- yay!)

Remarkable, by Elizabeth Foley
There's that old saying that you should never judge a book by it's cover, but I confess it was the bright, whimsical cover of this book which initially got my attention.  Fortunately, the book proved to be every bit as delightful and fun as the cover.  Jane is a plain, unremarkable girl who lives in a town full of remarkable people.  She is accustomed to being overlooked, but thanks to her grandfather, a set of brilliant, mischievous twins, a pirate, and a sea monster, she finds her own remarkable qualities.  I absolutely loved this book!

Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanna Lai
At our school, one of our goals is to teach our students to think globally.  I was happy to find this book, as I feel it's a great way of initiating discussion about the importance of empathy and tolerance.  Ha is a young girl from Saigon who is forced to flee to America with her mother and brothers during the Vietnam war.  A sponsor helps them settle in Alabama, where Ha experiences the challenges of adjusting to a new country and culture.  A sweet story told in verse.

City of Ember, The People of Sparks, and the Diamond of Darkhold, by Jeanne DuPrau
There are actually four books in this series, but so far I have only read these three.  I have a thing for post-apocalyptic stories, so I loved this series.  Basically, a city is built deep underground in hopes that the citizens of the city would survive devastating wars and plagues and eventually emerge (200 years later) to rebuild civilization.  Unfortunately, the instructions for exiting the city are lost, leaving the citizens underground for much longer than intended.  Friends Lina and Doon are determined to find the way out of the dying city.  The series follows their determination to first find a way out of the city, then to learn how to survive in the world above.  I found these books very fascinating and thought-provoking.  

Son, by Lois Lowry
I loved Lowry's book, The Giver, so I was anxious to read this recent addition to the series.  In The Giver, Jonas escaped his community with a baby named Gabe, who was going to be killed simply because he wasn't conforming to the expected sleep and behavior patterns.  Son follows the story of Gabe's birthmother, Claire, who also breaks free of the community in search of her son.  

Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith
While I read a lot of YA literature, I do enjoy some good grown-up reads now and then.  I have read several of McCall Smith's other series and have found this series every bit as charming.  McCall Smith has such an ability to bring his quirky, endearing characters to life.  In this book, I particularly love how we get to see into the mind of Freddie de la Hay, the Pimlico terrier adopted by wine-merchant William.  

Honestly, I've read more books than you probably want to read about all at once, so I'll save some for another post!

We don't have movie theatres here in Saudi Arabia, so it's always a real treat when we can take a trip to Bahrain to visit the cinema.  This week we were on Eid break, so we went to Bahrain and saw 4 movies:  
The Amazing Spiderman-- loved it!  (Sorry Tobey McGuire!)
Hotel Transylvania-- loved it! 
Pitch Perfect-- liked the music and fun characters, but didn't love the crass humor or excessive vomiting.
Skyfall-- haven't seen a Bond movie for a while, and while it was action-packed and had some great moments, I just find that I no longer enjoy this type of movie as much as I used to.  

Because I get starved for entertainment, I also occasionally splurge on a movie from iTunes.  Today I downloaded Snow White and the Hunstman.  I enjoyed the new twist on a classic story, though I did find it a bit dark and slow at times.  

Thanks for including me in the blog-- I've enjoyed reading all the posts and appreciate the motivation to keep trying new books!

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