I've been offline hiding in books a bit more than usual lately, and with good reason - last week, both my cell phone and my ovaries turned out to be a little bit broken. Again. Not to trivialize a serious thing, but do you know just how inconvenient it is to be unable to make a call or a baby (note: not at the same time)?
[Mildly Relevant / TMI Sidebar: I don't want to get into some dreary State of the Uterus address here, but I have the fertility condition PCOS. Good news is, my problem actually has a concrete diagnosis, it's unrelated to my decrepit old age, and it's one that we've successfully overcome (duh) in the past. The bad news is, well, needing a diagnosis, not to mention procreation now involving all the spontaneous romance of an airport security pat-down.]
But enough about my defective ladybits - there's a phrase you don't hear every day - we're here today for books. BOOKS, thank Neiman Marcus (or the library - whatever). My favorite this month is once again . . . ironic drumroll, please . . . another Young Adult novel! Because 3 out of 4 months isn't indicative of a worrisome pattern of arrested development at all! Exclamation point!!!!
|state of the nightstand (and not the uterus - you're welcome)|
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I came to this book, the author's debut, with lofty expectations, having just devoured "The Fault in Our Stars". While this doesn't quite rise to the level of that sure-to-be-classic, I really enjoyed "Alaska" too.
This is the story of Miles, an introverted Florida high school junior and outsider who decides to switch to an out-of-state boarding school in hopes of . . . something. "The Great Perhaps", as he calls it. He finds just that in a group of fellow students, including - especially - the mysterious, beautiful Alaska.
Without spoiling anything, the book clearly and effectively builds the setting for an upcoming tragedy. When it ultimately unfolds, Miles is left to tackle the aftermath, and the Great Perhaps is only the beginning. Or is it the entire purpose?
As with "The Fault in Our Stars", the author shows an uncanny ability to recreate the teenage mind, hopes and hormones and everything else that entails. I don't want to pigeonhole this as YA fiction, though, since it was enjoyable to distinctly-no-longer-teenaged me too. He captures adolescence without condescending to it, an incredible feat not many authors, YA or otherwise, manage to pull off.
This is a contemporary addition to the canon that Salinger started, with Miles asking many of the same important questions that good ol' Holden once kicked around. While I'm not saying this rises to "Catcher" status, it is a remarkable debut. I want my children to read Green one day in the same way I hope they'll love Salinger and S.E. Hinton too.
(Just a note for any parents of teenagers reading this: there's some mature subject matter in this one - not just the meaning of life stuff, but also some drinking, smoking and sexuality - that might make this a better fit for older teens as well as fully grown-up bloggers. Ahem.)
For the Nursery School Set
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambeault, and Lois Ehlert
|image via Goodreads|
This is Master P's recent favorite, a rhyming, rhythmic alphabet book he received for his birthday (thanks, Auntie L!). He seems to like the colorful illustrations and musicality to the words, and I enjoy the clever alphabet lesson going on. Win-win.