Summer Reading Update

Here is my list of books I wanted to complete this summer:

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink  (saw the movie.  Does that count?)

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strut

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (re-read)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (re-read)

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

Everything that Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb  (reading right now)

Made in the USA by Billie Letts

Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

I’ve been reading, just not off this list.  Oops.  I started a teen reading group and that has been consuming a lot of my reading.  I also read Tana French’s The Likeness, which I highly recommend by the way.  I will write a review on that one soon.

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Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

images Summary:  Colin Singleton only dates Katherines.  Nineteen of them to be exact.  When he is dumped by Katherine the XIX, he and his friend Hassan decide to take off on a road trip.  Did I mention that Colin is also a former child prodigy?  A borderline genius and an annagramming master, Colin Singleton must find logic and reasoning in everything he does.  So when he is dumped by the nineteenth Katherine, Colin decides there must be a way to predict the nature of a relationship and when exactly said dumping is going to occur and by who.

As Colin and Hassan embark on their road trip they make their first stop in Gutshot, Tennessee.  Here they meet Lindsey, their Gutshot tour guide.  Before they know what is happening, Hassan and Colin decide to stay in Gutshot for a while and work for Lindsey’s mother, interviewing factory workers.  In Gutshot, Colin works on his theorem for proving the predictability of a relationship, but discovers that not all things make sense in the world.  Especially falling for a Lindsey from Gutshot.

Review: Well, this was the first book that the teen book group from DDG chose.  I have to say, I really enjoyed Katherines.  The narrator, Colin Singleton, is somewhat neurotic and annoying, but the supporting characters balance him out and add a great deal of humor to the story.  Hassan is a riot.  When Colin starts spouting off facts about something that nobody really cares about, Hassan will cut him off with a “Not interesting.”  Lindsey is a sharp observer and has keen insight into Colin’s character and his nuances.  The story is fun and entertaining and definitely worth reading.  It makes a great teen summer read.

For our book club, we were joined by Sara Shumway, the editor of An Abundance of Katherines.  She had a lot of interesting ideas to share with the group.  Shumway talked about the storytelling arc (of beginnning, middle and end) that Lindsey teaches to Colin and how the author followed this same arc in telling Colin’s story to his readers.

All in all, this was a nice way to start off our book group and I am looking forward to our next read:  Michael Grant’s Gone.

Teen Book Group and the Wonders of Skype

I posted earlier about starting a teen book group at the book store. Well, I am happy to report the group is up and running.  We had about ten or fifteen kids show up and we chose the following four books to read over the summer:

1.  An Abundance of Katerines by John Green

2.  Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

3.  Gone by Michael Grant

4.  Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner

What is even more exciting about this whole project is that I helped my boss set up a Skype account and so far we have three of the four authors doing a skype conversation with the group on the day we meet to discuss.  How cool is that?

imagesUp first is John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines.  We meet on July 7th to discuss.  I will post after the meeting.