The Wednesday Wars

Books, Music, Art, Movies
Cover of "The Wednesday Wars"

Cover of The Wednesday Wars

I just now finished reading The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. Wow. What an amazingly great book. It’s a very humorous and fun read. I love the characters in it (except for the main character’s dad. But there’s even something to like about him, too.) It’s really well written. There are some great passages in it.

It takes place in 1967 and chronicles the 7th grade school year for Holling Hoodhood. On Wednesday afternoons the children in his small Long Island town go to thier respective temples or churches for religious study (brought back memories of Catechism form me. shudder). Holling is the only Presbyterian in the seventh grade, thus, no after-school religious classes. So he is stuck with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, who, he is sure, has it out for him. She has him do menial tasks but when those run out she begins to have him read Shakespeare. Which he likes and memorizes.

There are some very memorable vignettes in this book. My favorite is when Holling is in the town’s Shakespeare Holiday Extravaganza on the same evening that Mickey Mantle appears at the local sporting good store to sign baseballs. He barely makes the MIckey Mantle appearence, which is good, but he is snubbed by The Man himself, which is bad.

A great read. Highly recommeded.

The Book Thief

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Cover of "The Book Thief"

Cover of The Book Thief

I just finished reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Wow. I am really kind of blown away by it. It’s truly an amazing book. Superbly written. There are some beautiful lines and phrases in this story. It’s a little long but well worth the read. Oh and the Characterization is great, too. It’s narrated by Death, for starters.

It’s the story of Liesel, a little girl who finds herself living on Himmel Street with foster parents during Nazi Germany. On the way to her foster parents she steals her first book, which is her foray into book thievery. She soon finds that words have power and that they can save or take lives.

You really need to read this book. It’s really, really good.

Life as we knew it

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Cover of "Life As We Knew It"

Cover of Life As We Knew It

I finished reading this book yesterday evening. Usually when I read in bed it puts me to sleep after a few pages. Not this one. I had to finish it. Just had to.

And then it gave me nightmares.

The book is Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It is the diary of a young woman, Miranda, who is at the end of her sophmore year in high school. Miranda’s life is very normal. She has fights with her mom. She likes to ice skate. etc. She writes about all of these things in her diary. She also writes about the meteor that is about to hit the moon. Everyone is talking about it everywhere. And some people are worried about it but many people take it with a grain of salt, like it’s something there to entertain them. On the night of the meteor everyone in her neighborhood is outside, waiting for the impact; as if it were a fireworks display. Then it actually happens. It appears in the sky and then hits the moon. And then she hears screaming as the moon becomes bigger and bigger until it fills up most of the sky. The meteor moved the moon closer to the earth.

This causes all kinds of worldwide disasters. The first of which are tsunamis that decimate the coastlines and wipe out all coastal cities and the people in them. The electricity goes out and then stays out for undetermined periods of time. Then the volcanoes start erupting. Like the mega one at Yellowstone National Park. This is the begining of a long, hard story of survival.

As I said, this book scared the hell out of me. But it was goood. Boy was it good. A definate must-read.

Fairest

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FairestI know I’ve been posting a lot of book reviews lately. I hope you don’t mind. But there is really a lot of fantastic Y.A. and Juvenile fiction out there and I’ve really been enjoying reading it! Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine has to be one of my favorites. It takes place in the world of Ella Enchanted (also by Levine and another fantastic book.). It is about a girl named Aza, a girl who was brought up by a family of inkeepers. She is a self-described oaf. And others, unfortunately, think of her the same way. After years of hearing others make fun of her looks she thinks herself ugly, too. She would like nothing more than to be beautiful. However, she does have a gift. She has a tremendously beautiful voice and in her kingdom this is very important. Singing is a vital part of the culture. She also can Illuse. That is, she can throw her voice and make it “come out of” different objects, and even make it sound like other people. This little gift gets her an invitation to the Royal Wedding, where she meets the Queen and becomes her lady-in-waiting. As the Lady-in-waiting Aza discovers the Queen’s magic mirror that can make her look beautiful. She, then, discovers the Queen’s secret beauty potion and drinks some. She then becomes “fairest in the land” which leads to disasterous results.

While she is living in the castle the young prince falls in love with her. But he falls in love with the “ugly” Aza. Not the beautiful Aza. This helps Aza to realize that she is beautiful without a potion, and she begins to accept her looks.

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. I loved the message. And I think it’s a message that many young girls need to get these days, so you can bet I will be recommending this one to lots of kids. It was also very funny. Just an all around fun story.

Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist

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Nick and Norah\'s Infinite PlaylistI finished this book ages ago but I wanted to post a little review of it here. I’ve been procrastinating.

This is a dual protagonist story. On one side we have Nick, a young man who plays guitar in a punk band, likes to write poetry, and is obsessed with the girl who recently broke up with him. On the other side we have Nora, a feminist, about same age as Nick, who likes to go to the shows of punk bands. She is the daughter of a famous music exec. The scene is Manhattan. It takes place in one evening. The evening starts out in a bar after a show that Nick’s band played in. Nick sees his ex come into the club with another guy and is devestated. He sees her walking toward her. He doesn’t want to talk to her and the only thing he can think of to do is ask the girl next to him (Nora) if she will be his girlfriend for 5 minutes. Then Nick and Nora kiss. And the night begins.

I loved this book. In a way, it kind of made me feel old but, regardless, it was a great story. Highly recommended. The F-word is used in this book. A lot. So if you don’t like cussing you might be offended.

Check out the Nick and Nora website here.

when I was looking for the link above I found out that this book is going to be made into a movie!