December Round-Up

The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed. This book was so good. In addition to being an interesting history of a family close to Thomas Jefferson, it made me look at slavery in a total different way. Living almost 150 years after slavery was abolished, I’ve really only ever though of it as a BAD THING, and never really considered what it was like to live under slavery or in a slave society. This book definitely opened my eyes and changed the way I see. Highly recommended.

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. This was a book club selection and a good example of why I love my book club. I had never even heard of Whitehead, but I really enjoyed this book and discovered a new author, one who I really should have known, since his books have won all sorts of literary awards. I liked the way Whitehead writes and I really enjoyed the book club discussion. Yay, book club!

How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri. A fictional tale, based on a true story, Yummy looks at the case of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, an 11-year-old boy from the Southside of Chicago who shot and killed a girl in his neighborhood as part of a gang shooting gone wrong.

The Zabime Sisters by Aristophane. Set on the island of Guadeloupe (an archipelago of islands in the Carribbean that I never even knew existed until I read this book), this graphic novel follows three sisters on their first day of summer vacation. It really reminded me of parts of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.

City of Spies by Susan Kim. This graphic novel in set in New York City during World War II and follows the adventures of two kids who are convinced they have discovered a German spy. The illustrations are in the style of 1940s comic books, which is a particularly good match. An entertaining read.

The Road to Revolution! by Stan Mack. I didn’t have very high expectations for this graphic novel, because the illustrations seemed a little amateurish, but I found myself really enjoying it. The story tells the tale of a boy and girl in Boston in the time right before the American Revolution and is quite in engaging. I think it would good for getting late elementary school kids interested in history.

The Stonecutter by Jon J. Muth. The Stonecutter is a Japanese folk tale with an underlying message of acceptance. The version I read was beautifully illustrated by John Kuramoto and is worth reading for the illustrations alone.

Fannie’s Last Supper by Christopher Kimball.

Little Princes by Conor Grenan.

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang. This book had been on my “To Read” list for a while, but I bumped it up after reading Country Driving by Peter Hessler and learning that Chang was his wife and had written about the factory workers in the same area that Hessler covers toward the end of his book. It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the way that Chang intertwined her family’s history and their migration with stories of the workers she met.

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood. Cindy recommended this book and I’m glad I read it. It just added to my appreciation of Atwood as a writer. This third book of hers that I’ve read was once again quite different from the other two (The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace), but at the same time really well written. I’m more of a “plot” reader than a “words” reader, but I do like the way Atwood writes and I am enjoying her “words” more and more. There will definitely be more reading of Atwood in 2011.

December Round-Up

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