just what it sounds like…reading as a religion

Archive for April, 2010

The Meaning of Thirteen, or Why I Made This Awesome Podcast

So, this one’s all about a class assignment.  But, I promise that there are some awesome books within.  Basically, I had to book talk three books like I would as a librarian for a teenage audience.  The tricky part is that it had to be recorded as a podcast.  This is my first foray into podcasting, so be gentle.  Anyways, it needed to have some kind of general topic or theme.  Being the nut that I am, I couldn’t just pick any old theme.  So, I came up with what I consider to be an awesome idea: Books With the Word Thirteen in the Title

I know it’s probably not nearly as exciting to you as it was to me when I had this epiphany.  So, I’ll get to the point–what books did I choose?

Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

Well if you’ve read my blog previously, you will know that I already reviewed Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why and loved it!  That was my starting point.

From there, I added Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman.  I’ve had an advanced reading copy of this lying around since October.  I loaned it to my teenage brother and he told me it was awesome.  For some reason, probably general lack of time, I’ve put off reading it.  All I have to say is, boy, I wish I’d read this sooner.  Exciting and thrilling!  Totally great new take on the current trend towards the supernatural.  This book just hit the shelves last week and I am glad to be able to recommend it.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Rounding out my podcast, I added something for those of you that prefer sunnier reading–Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.  In this book, Ginny finds herself traveling alone through Europe following a mysterious trail of letters that her dead aunt has left for her.  Along the way, she finds adventure, romance, and littleof herself.  This one is definitely ‘awwwwwww’-inducing.  So of course, I loved it–despite its slight cheesiness.

So, without further ado, if you would like to listen to my podcast it is located at: http://readligion.podbean.com



Fighting Hunger, or Why I Am So Thankful I Don’t Live in the Future

As promised, here it is:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

The Story As It Is: Katniss Everdeen is 16

years old.  Katniss Everdeen has to fight to the death.  In a strange future version of the Earth, Kat lives in District 12—one of the poorest of the twelve districts of Panem.  The twelve districts of Panem are ruled over by the elite in the Capitol.  In earlier times, the thirteen districts (yes, there was a thirteenth district then) rose in rebellion against the Capitol and lost.  As if the destruction of District 13 wasn’t enough, the Capitol gives the districts a yearly reminder of their power.  Each district must send one boy and one girl, chosen by random at the Reaping, to the Capitol for the Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games are a dangerous fight for survival broadcast live on television for the entertainment of the Capitol’s wealthy inhabitants.  Each Tribute, as the selected boys and girls are called, tries to be the last person alive and the victor of the Games.  After the Reaping, Katniss and Peeta, the boy Tribute from District 12, are quickly whisked away to the glorious and foreboding Capitol, where no manner of luxury that they are offered can distract them from the horrible future that awaits them.  Expected to lose because of their District 12 home, Kat and Peeta must use every bit of themselves to survive.

The Story As I See It: This book is totally engrossing.  Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.  From the first moment, you are rooting for Kat to survive.  Then, a wrench is thrown in the works—Peeta is pretty loveable too, especially when he seems to care so much for Kat.  Before reading this, I was worried that it might be too grim or gory for me.  I mean, it is about teenagers trying to kill each other to win a game.  However, I found the story extremely riveting and actually kind of uplifting as you see the strength that Kat shows.  Plus, reading about all the future technology in the Capitol is actually pretty cool.

Verdict: This is not happy, sunny reading.  If that’s what you are looking for, this is not for you.  However if you want a really good story that draws you in from the beginning and continues with heart-racing action throughout, you need to read this book.  I am so excited to read the sequel and I am sure I will be waiting in anticipation for the release of the third installment in August!

An Avalanche of Stuff, or Why I’ve Disappeared Lately

So, school is kicking my butt right now.  I have so much homework to do that I don’t even have a moment to think.  One good thing: I’ve gotten to read some awesome books for school.  Anyways, I stopped in to talk about one in particular–The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  I wasn’t sure I was gonna like it, but boy was I wrong.  All I have to say is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  When my life calms down, I’ll be back to review it fully.  But for now, I’ll just say I loved it.


Reason to Live, or Why Death is So Hot Right Now

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

When I decided to read the book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, I did a little background research first.  I did not realize what a hot topic death, especially suicide, is right now in young adult lit.  A quick look at Amazon gives me a ton of hot books about this topic.  So, what do I think? I think this is a tough subject, but a lot of people deal with it—more than we may realize.  I think exploring this subject in literature is eye-opening and healthy.  It might even help some people who are really struggling.  And why is this topic so hot?  I’m not really sure.  Maybe, it’s because it’s kind of a risqué subject.  Maybe it’s because of the recent surge of interest in the supernatural and the creepy and in turn, an interest in death. I don’t know.  Anyways, I read Thirteen Reasons Why and I really enjoyed, so maybe it’s just that the strong emotions related to death and suicide make for really good literature.

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

The Story As It Is: Clay Jensen receives a mysterious package containing 7 tapes with sides numbered 1 through 13, the fourteenth side unmarked.  On the first tape, he hears the voice of his crush Hannah Baker telling him he is one of the thirteen reasons she committed suicide.  During one long evening, Clay makes his way all over town and through each of the tapes—finding out a lot of things about Hannah’s life that he never knew.  As he listens to the tapes, Clay realizes the importance of every action one takes and how they might affect people in ways you can’t even see.

The Story As I See It: As a reader, I felt so bad for Clay.  I could feel how much he was hurting.  He only wanted to know Hannah better.  How could he have been the reason she killed herself?  Going on the journey with him was really exciting and emotionally-moving.  Reading Hannah’s audio narrative is like talking to a ghost.  It is kind of creepy, but also really effective in drawing you into the story.  You will not be able to put this book down, wanting to know each of Hannah’s thirteen reasons.  By reading this book, I felt myself considering the affect I have on people.  Even sometimes when I feel invisible, I am affecting people in some way.

The Verdict: This book is definitely rough on the emotions.  Hannah is pretty blunt about the events in her life and how she feels.  In the end, however, it is a totally worthwhile read.

So, after reading about this, I’m pretty interested in reading some more of these trendy books about death:

  • By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson