Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - A War of Gifts

Stepped outside of the Fredricksen Teen collection for a bit and read Orson Scott Card's A War of Gifts. I love Card's older stuff - Ender's Game is probably my all time favorite book, and I couldn't believe how good Ender's Shadow is, considering that you know going in how it's going to end if you've read Ender's Game. I also really liked his Tales of Alvin Maker series. I used to say that Card could rewrite the phone book and make it compelling reading. I had been hearing from other Card fans however, that he's been slipping lately - losing continuity in series' and getting a little preachy. I was hoping they were wrong. A War of Gifts is a quick read (only 126 pages) and it does present some interesting points. Unfortunately, my sources are right about Card getting preachy. Maybe my expectations of Card are a little high, but I just didn't enjoy this one like I have others. My recommendation is to skip this one, but if you haven't read Ender's Game yet, you definitely need to! I'd also highly recommend Ender's Shadow, and First Meetings in the Enderverse, as well as the three books that are direct sequels to Ender's Game - Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind, as well as the totally unrelated, Pastwatch. Enjoy those! Take a pass on A War of Gifts.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - The Off Season

Just finished Catherine Gilbert Murdock's The Off Season. It's a sequel to Dairy Queen, which I hadn't read. Not having read the first had absolutely no effect on reading this one. It's about D.J., a high school junior who lives on a dairy farm in the midwest. D.J. narrates and it reads just like a friendly farm girl is sitting next to you telling you her story, like you're old friends. D.J. isn't the type of high school girl that books generally get written about. She has been a star basketball player, and is hoping for an athletic scholarship, because she's not going to get an academic one. She is also a starter on her high school football team, and a linebacker, no less! The book is about a month or 2 in D.J's life as her family faces a few crises, her love life is a roller coaster, she suffers an injury, and her best friend moves away after being thrown out of the house by her mother. I enjoyed it - mostly because I liked D.J., but also because, although you weren't really left hanging with any ofthe story lines at the end, you also didn't get an ending that was tied up in a pretty little bow with everything working out like a sitcom or a movie of the week. In other words, I thought it was pretty realistic. If you're a middle or high school girl, but not the girlie type that so many teen books seem to be written for, check this one out - you'll probably enjoy it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Guitar Hero Tournament Results

Just finished the first Guitar Hero Tournament of the school year. They always go well. We had 21 kids enter the tournament and a handful more that just came for the ambience, the board games, and the popcorn. Man, those final 3 kids were good! Chris K emerged as our grand prize winner with Aaron R coming in second and Brandon K a close third. A big thank you also, to Jared, the recipient of the "thanks for cleaning up midway through" prize. I love to see a man with a broom in his hands, especially voluntarily!
We'll be doing a 2 on 2 Guitar Hero World Tour Tournament in December. Watch for details, and see you then!
Pics from today are below.

Monday, November 03, 2008

What Mrs N's Been Reading - Repossessed

Just finished A.M. Jenkins' Repossessed. If you're open to exploring the possibilities of what heaven and hell might actually be like, this is a very interesting book. Kiriel, a fallen angel (don't use the term "demon" please) whose job has been to "echo souls regrets back at them, thus letting them feel the full burden of their shame, guilt and sorrow" for millenia, decides that he's had enough and wants to experience physical being. He snatches the body of Shaun, a typical teenager, seconds before he is about to be hit and killed by an SUV. Pretending to be Shaun, Kiriel sets out to experience all of the human senses and as many of the seven deadly sins as he can before being found out. Jenkins did a really good job of letting you feel what it would be like to suddenly have a physical body and senses, after millenia of being purely a spiritual being. There's some mature content, as Kiriel plans to experience some things. There's nothing graphic, though, and ultimately he winds up viewing some of those things in an entirely different way than how he started out. You might want to read this one with someone, because if you really get into it, you'll want to talk about some things, especially the ending. Not for young middle-schoolers, but an excellent book. If you're in the mood to get just a little philosphical, check it out!