30 Dec
2011

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

*Henry's Pick*

This book threw a bomb into everything I knew when I was young. At that time I only knew how to wrap my head around my backyard, and this book gave me the entire universe. It was my introduction to infinity. No longer was it just something I drew in the margins of my homework. A Wrinkle in Time made infinity as tangible as I think it will ever be for me, folding it into something that I could fit in my pocket. Even after delving into the world of theoretic physics and theories about multiple dimensions, the ideas in this book still hold. However, I think the greatest lesson in this book dealt with the opposite of infinity, which to me is fate. A mysterious character named Mrs. Whatsit compares fate to a sonnet. A sonnet has a strict form. There are 14 lines, all in iambic pentameter, but within these lines you can write whatever you want. I think this is as hopeful an outlook on fate you will ever find in print.

30 Dec
2011

The Art of Modern Rock by Paul Grushkin & Dennis King

*Jessi's Pick*

Being an artist, how could I pass up an opportunity to review this book? Also being a complete music geek on top of that…well forget it! Obviously, I recommend this book, both from an artist’s standpoint and a lover of rock n roll. It’s interesting to see the progression of poster art, the details and complexity can be quite amazing. Even simplicity itself can be wonderous if used in the right context. You may even catch me flipping the pages on a slow day (shh…don’t tell my boss!).

30 Dec
2011

I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle

*KRISTEN’S PICK*

The day I got this book I was meeting my husband for dinner, and (as usual) he was late. Which was okay, for once, as I got to start reading at the bar. My husband paid the price for being late, there was no loving chit chat at dinner, but a lot of “shushing” from me, along with assorted remarks like “I am trying to read”, and “where’s your book” (I love the guy, don’t get me wrong). When we got home, I stayed up reading until the end and I bet you will too. Larry Doyle (an ex Simpson’s writer) has crafted an uproarious love letter to geeks everywhere. With a definite Simpson’s flair, (and I mean that in the best of ways - I’m a huge fan!) right down to the obligatory “Millhouse” of a best friend (read gay) who also, no matter what the situation, cannot stop spouting movie quotes, including their directors. Who doesn’t have a friend like this? I have two (you know who you are). I can’t imagine anyone not liking this book!

30 Dec
2011

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

*Ryan’s Pick*

Between fourth and sixth grade I think I read this book five times. Dog lovers need this book. Young boys need this book. Anyone who grew up in the country needs this book. If you haven’t read it, you need this book.
Rawls encapsulates all of the large hardships and small victories of growing up and learning about life in the backwoods and forests of any city and state. I think that this is the book that made me realize how powerful language and writing can be. Passages still stick with me - some 12 years after reading it. The raccoons, the great sycamore, the boy falling on the axe, the side by side graves, the mysterious plant.
Where the Red Fern Grows was a book that changed the way that I saw literature. It’s one of those stories that you can read as a young boy for the thrill, as an adult for the nostalgia, and again as an old man for the familiar comfort that it never ceases to deliver.

30 Dec
2011

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

*Marlie's Pick!*

Ladies - this is a great summer read, you won’t be able to put it down! It’s the story of a young girl, Lily, who leaves her abusive father and sets off on her own searching for answers about her deceased mother. She is taken in by a family of three black sisters living in the deep south during a time of serious racial unrest. Lily is put to work in their honey house for the summer and begins a wonderful journey of self discovery in women, family, love and trust. I swear you can actually smell the honey from the bees and feel the sweltering heat of the south in summer! I ran out and got The Mermaid Chair (by Sue Monk Kidd) the very day I finished this - I couldn’t get enough! The Mermaid Chair was great, but not as affective and haunting as The Secret Life of Bees… LOVED IT!

30 Dec
2011

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

*Kristen's Pick!*

The first line is: “I was born singing. Most babies cry, I sang an aria”. Yeah, this book had me at hello. I liked Levine’s other books, (Ella Enchanted and Two Princesses of Bamarre) but I loved this! This lyrical re-imagining of Snow White spoke volumes to me about the spell beauty can weave and the use (and misuse) of power. Besides, I was born to live in Ayortha, a land where conversations are most often sung and then spoken. This book should take its place as a modern classic.

30 Dec
2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

*Blair's Pick!*

“If you lose your purpose…it’s like you’re broken”

If you’re not already sold just by picking up and flipping through this visually stunning book, then you are boring. This is a beautiful story that blends film and magic and childlike wonder to create Hugo Cabret, a boy who tends to the clocks at a train station in Paris, where he also lives. At the heart of the story lies a mystery: an automaton with a message. This message not only changes Hugo’s life, but also someone unexpected. Like the small parts that make each clock work, the characters in this story realize they too are parts of a vast machinery where each piece matters, be it a dreamer, adventurer, magician or clockmaker.

30 Dec
2011

Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

* Jessi’s Pick*

Imagine a poem that kills anyone who heard it. Now imagine if that same poem somehow ended up in a children’s book that parents read to their kids. What would you do? Carl Streator, a newspaper journalist, makes it his mission to find and destroy all copies of this deadly poem. Author of Fight Club and famous for subversive twists, Chuck Palahniuk does not fail to impress with Lullaby. This book was my first introduction into the world of Palahniuk and is still by far my favorite!