21 March 2010

Book Club - MAR - Nation by Terry Pratchett

From Harper Collins: Only two survivors remain after a giant wave crashes upon an island. Mau's village is destroyed and the voices of his Grandfathers demand that he rebuild everything just as it was. Daphne's ship has run aground and the voice of her grandmother reminds her that she is just 138 people away from being an English princess -- she should NOT be mucking around on an island.
Nation is a Printz Honor Book.

Here are some questions to start you thinking about different ideas from Nation. Join us for a discussion of the book on Wednesday, March 31!
From Harper Teen Reading Guides:

  • How does myth influence Mau's living situation and outlook on life?
  • What do the English and the islanders have in common regarding religion and lifestyle? What role does religion play in their lives? Do their gods cause them to have different values?
  • What are the functions of religion and science in the book? Are religion and science similar? How do they help people?
  • What does Mau learn about belief in the course of the story? What do readers learn about belief and stereotypes?
  • What is the purpose of manners? How do they help or hinder Daphne's interactions with Mau and the other characters? Are there manners that transcend culture?
  • What does it mean to be ethical? Is Daphne's killing of Foxlip ethical? Does the ruling of the court affect your opinion of Daphne's ethics?
  • When does a child become an adult? How do you define the difference between children and adults?

Possible activities and food??

20 March 2010

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Her intensely bright red hair matches her name, and Fire's beauty meets that intensity full on. Fire comes from a difficult background and her father was one of the cruelest men known to the kingdom, but she now lives among a handful of people who truly care for her. Brocker is a solid father figure, and Archer is unwavering in his love and support for her. But war is imminent and she finally agrees to work as a spy alongside King Nash, his brother Brigan, and their half-siblings. Fire has the limited ability to control others' minds by using her own beauty to encourage and influence their thoughts and behaviors. Unfortunately, for Fire, she cannot always control how one will react to seeing her: "Why did hatred so often make men think of rape? . . . As often as the power of her beauty made one man easy to control, it made another man uncontrollable and mad." (p.145) No one is safe in the Dells during this time, least of all Fire, as it becomes obvious that all along it is she who is the focus of battle. Each side wants to possess Fire for his own purposes.

Readers of Graceling will be able to reaffirm their disdain for Leck, the evil he relishes in, and the power that he craves. With the swirling intricacies of romance, fantasy, adventure, and humor, Fire will draw many, many fans. Each element that creates this story work in unbelievable tandem. Recommended to fantasy and non-fantasy readers alike: Fire will capture you.
Call number: YA CASHORE

Reviewed by kate the librarian

10 March 2010

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra's home is in a polygamous community with her father, her mothers, and her many brothers and sisters. She isn't exactly content with life, but she loves her family, her greatest joy is playing the piano, and she has a super secret crush on Joshua. On the day that Kyra finds out she has been promised in marriage to her father's brother -- a man 5o years her elder, and her uncle! -- her world begins to crumble. Kyra's father and Joshua speak with the Prophet in an attempt to appeal the decision, resulting only in harsh words and violent fists. When Joshua is sent away from the compound, Kyra knows she must run away. In order to do what is best for herself, she relies on internal strength, the Mobile Library on Wheels, and her faith in God to help guide her. But there is no easy way out for Kyra.

This is an extraordinary and powerful account of life in a polygamous cult. The lives and characters of this novel are horrifying and endearing, and this story will both bring tears to your eyes and inspiration to your heart. Most highly recommended for all readers, though intense situations and circumstances make this title best for older readers. Especially recommended on audio.
Call number: YA WILLIAMS

Reviewed by kate the librarian