Sunday, October 28, 2012

Neil Gaiman News!

As I've mentioned before on the blog, I'm a Neil Gaiman fan. And you should be, too.

So here's some free, cool stuff to get you started.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Neil Gaiman's award-winning Coraline, you can enjoy listening to the entire novel, one chapter at a time, as read Neil, Lemony Snicket, Adam Rex, Holly Black, and other famous authors.

Coraline is the story of a young girl who moves into a ramshackle house and discovers a doorway to an alternate reality that's a little too perfect. There's a talking cat and a witch, but this ain't Narnia.

If that's not enough awesome for you, Neil is offering a free download of his short story, "Click-Clack the Rattlebag," as performed by Neil, on Plus, Audible will donate $1 for each free download to if you dowload by October 31.

And Neil also started All Hallow's Read, which is a new Halloween tradition where you give someone a scary book (or comic or graphic novel) during the week leading up to, or on, Halloween. Call it a spooky literacy effort.

Treat yourself to a free Neil Gaiman goodie this Halloween season!

Bonus video: Coraline film trailer

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Code Name Verity Book Review

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1423152194

352 pp.

Reading copy via library

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein has gotten so much buzz since it was published that it took me awhile to get my hands on a copy.

It's the story of two young women during World War II, one a pilot and the other a spy, who crash in occupied France. It's ultimately the story of their friendship, the kind of friendship that only the best of best friends have.

But I have to tell you, when I started reading it, there was some WTF is going on? The narrative is broken into two parts and the first part belongs to the spy, who goes by many names, including Verity. She's supposed to write out spy information for the Nazis who have captured her and instead she writes how she and Maddie, the pilot, met and became friends.

This narrative includes all the standard conventions of a novel, including Maddie's interior thoughts and speech attributions. And I'm thinking, what kind of Gestapo officer would allow this? They've already tortured Verity so they're not going to humor her and let her go down memory lane about her best friend. If they don't think they can get information out of her, they'd kill her. Easy, peasy. (That's a little joke. Maddie says "Easy, peasy" all the time.)

After about ten pages of this, I decided I either needed to go with the convention that the author has set up or I'd have to give up on the novel. I decided to go with the convention. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that after awhile the reader understands the Gestapo officer better and it's within in the realm of possibility that he'd allow Verity to write her novel/confession as she does.

Once I gave into the narrative, the book is a complete joy. Wonderful story, wonderful characters. There's fabulous period details and even walk-on characters have personality. The second half of the novel is Maddie's side of the story and there's much revealed that makes Verity's half so much more compelling.

I'd recommend to readers who enjoyed Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys or Witness by Karen Hesse.

Code Name Verity book trailer:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Reader's Corner - September 2012 Update

Dude, where's my clone?
September was waaay too hot to be called autumn. It was Summer, Part 2: Seriously, How Hot Is It?

While trying to stay cool, I did start a couple of new books. I'm almost done with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which is just as good as the hype.

I also started another book which shall remain nameless because I'm going to abandon it. I'm more than 200 pages in, so I definitely gave it a chance. But the character has failed to engage me and I just don't care what happens next. That's such a bummer when a book fails to connect.

But I did listen to some really awesome audiobooks. Yeah, I know some people don't consider listening to audiobooks "reading," but it gives me the chance to consume more books. I listened to Legend by Marie Lu and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. But the real stand-out for me was The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer and performed by Raul Esparza.

Raul Esparza is a Broadway actor and does a phenomenal job narrating The House of the Scorpion, which is an awesome book to begin with. It's about a boy who discovers he's the clone of a drug lord and he's being groomed to be an organ donor. You can listen to a sample of the audiobook on Simon & Schuster's website.

Happy reading!


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