Good Good Pig

I am on my way to New Orleans for ALA, meanwhile I am stuck in Atlanta airport at 6 a.m. Can I just say – airports need to provide FREE wireless. They charge you up the kazinga for everything else the least they could do is FREE wifi. HHMMMPPPFFFF!
I don’t have a lot of patience at 6 in the morning when I just got off a plane with the world’s skinniest seats – even if they did have XM.
So another book I read this weekend was Good, Good Pig by Sy Montgomery.
When I was a little kid – 10, or so, my father brought back to camp a feral piglet he had found abandoned in a field. It was starving, most likely because it was the runt and had been ”kicked out” of her litter. You do not bring a starving piglet around a ten year old and NOT bring her home, especially one who had read Charlotte’s Web multiple times. Her name was Wilby and she was very cool. She liked to be brushed, and if you didn’t brush her and she knew you were around she could get very vocally insistent. Unfortunately I, unlike Charlotte, could not save Wilby from my father’s nefarious plans. It was a verrrryyyy long time before I ate pork again.
All of this is to say that I love pigs. They are cool animals, and Christopher Hogwood is no exception. Chris liked to eat, go visiting, have his stomach rubbed, and oh yes – eat. I thought I wanted a pig until I read this. Chris was over 700 lbs.. That is a lot of pig, and slop. Because Christopher Hogwood was both a voracious eater, and quite gregarious the story is as much about the relationships the author developed through her pig, who at one time was a runt no bigger than a cat. Seriously.
I am not sure why I read animal stories. They are pretty much guaranteed to make me cry. Although I am finding I prefer non-fiction. I hated teaching the dying pet curriculum- Where the Red Fern Grow, The Red Pony, and that short story about a blind man and his horse. I liked The Good Good Pig better than Marley and Me because I thought the writing was tighter, but I wanted more Christopher Hogwood bad doing because they made me laugh. Although the mental picture of Sy Montgomery running away from Hogwood carrying the slop bucket while he charged after it was quite amusing.

Bottom line: good animal story, and a little bit more.

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Saint Iggy

I have been silent lately because it was near the end of school when life gets hectic and I go into the defense mode of spending my evenings in bed, laptop on my lap, playing mindless games or watching Buffy DVDs. (Joss, please come back to television.) But this weekend I went into the woods where there is nothing to do but watch the sky and read.

One of the titles I read was Saint Iggy by KL Going. It doesn’t come out until September so it isn’t on the summer reading list but what is a list for if not to deviate from. The story was told in chunks so there wasn’t even the time commitment of a page, which will make it in format great for a reluctant reader. The story about a kid kicked out of school, with druggie absentee parents (Mom is on a meth bender, Dad drinks himself into a couch stupor) has its good and its bad. Iggy’s mentor, set up through a big brother type program has his own addiction problems that land him and Iggy in hot water with a drug dealer who samples his own wares.

I should have seent the ending coming but I didn’t because I was too busy being alternatly angry at a system that allows the Iggy’s of the world (drug baby, abandoned) to fall through the cracks until it is too late to help them, and having my heart ache for all the Iggys I know about, and those I deal with at school that I don’t know about.

I think in a lot of ways – the rich woman so openly accepting Iggy as a way to help her son – there is a lack of realism. But in others, Iggy’s home and feelings about his neighborhood there is an overwhelming sense of “yes this is right”. All in all I enjoyed the book.

F#@*! I’m a Prude

This is a post guaranteed to set off filters at schools all over the US. Well, it would if people actually read my blog, and I actually used the language I am writing about.

This weekend I read Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Midway through I was reminded of Chris Crutcher’s story about unf#@*ing his first book. To paraphrase: his editor suggested he tone down the language of his first book, and he found in re-reading that cussing on page is different than in conversation. I am all for authentic language as being a necessary part of characterization, and even setting. Still . . .

I now this is going to be an unpopular opinion but I found the amount of bad language in Nick and Norah distracting. I understood that it was part of the culture that Nick and Norah exist in, and I respect that, but it distracted me. I love David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. They each have a book I adored (Gingerbread & Boy Meets Boy) and I liked their other stuff too. And I have been dying to read this book – really, truly. So I am disappointed that I am a :::bleep::: prude.

Nick is devastated by his break up with Tris, and when he spots her with another guy he asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. Turns out Norah is no fan of Tris either, plus she has her own ex-boyfriend issues. Throughout the night, that turns into morning, the two bounce around and off one another in the push /pull of an extraordinary first date. I liked the story, loved the descriptions of the music and the mosh pit, and the characters who were complex, and suffering early damage of first love.

I’m not sure if I recommend this book, I liked it but I have some issues . . . oh what the heck 🙂 read it and decide for yourself.

Touching Darkness and Blue Moon

There is a 25th hour in the day for those born during midnight. The rest of the world freezes, and they are left to explore the blue time with the darklings and the slithers. At least that is true in Bixby, Oklahoma. In the Midnighters series things are changing in Bixby. I read the first book over a year ago and while I enjoyed it, it took a while to finish off the series. But I decided to start on my summer reading list and finish off the series. Touching Darkness seem to move faster to me, but Blue Noon was much creepier with unexpected events. The five midnighters each have their day in a book. In The Secret Hour it focuses more on Jessica and Jonathon, by the time I got to Blue Noon they basically annoyed me, and seemed less defined. In Touching Darkness, Dess came to the forefront but her anger at Melissa began to get on my nerves in Blue Noon.

Basically I think Scott Westerfeld rocks, I love his books and his blog. I am going to start Specials from the Uglies trilogy this weekend and can I just say I LOVE the cover of the Peeps companion, The Last Days (out in September).

Check out his books, they are worth your time.

Why I miss Quick Picks

If I were to be truthful I would say that I was burned out and ready to be done this past January when we finished the 2006 QP list. 2 years would have been 6 months too short and 3 years was 6 months too long, which isn't to say that I didn't love every minute of it because I did – even when I was slogging through the God / Beauty book written by the Tammy Faye look alike. (Who wears that much mascara?) Ok I am dating myself with the 80s reference, but it could be worse. But recently I've really started missing the book committee.
Here's why:
1) I miss being excited every time the UPS truck turned on my street, because I knew it was a good chance they were delivering something to me – a box full of books that would have something I have been desperately been waiting to read, and a few surprises as well. My husband is fairly thrilled he doesn't have to trip over boxes, and cart them to school, but my students and I miss Christmas in the library.
2) I miss feeling pressure to read. It is much easier wasting time watching The Hills on MTV, while Blue Noon sits unopened on my living room table. Especially since allergies make it difficult to keep my eyes open and concentrating, and lets face it Charles Barkley on NBA halftime on TNT does not take a lot of concentration.
3.) I just don't have enough money in my personal account to spend on books I want like: The Sea of Monsters, and The Rise of Lubchenko. Nor do I have enough budget money to buy all I want for the library. And I can't really spend money until September.
4.) I miss getting ARCs especially if there was a chance I could get a copy of What Happened to Cass McBride ahead of time.
5.) I miss having an excuse to force my way into certain English classes in the guise of getting teen feedback. Well guise would be the wrong word because I miss teen feedback too.
6.) I miss being able to track kids down with a new fabulous read I know they'll like.

In short Quick Picks was a lot of fun.