Thursday, September 09, 2010

It has been a wild few weeks. We had the house in Lex on the market for many months, gave up, took it off, and put it back on and it sold! So I am writing this from our new home in Plantation, FL. My docs are all delighted with the move to a tropical climate. The speed of the change over to a Worker's Comp. Case Worker here in Florida has been wonderful. I'll be seeing an orthopedic surgeon soon to get ready for the 2nd knee surgery. :-)

Once I find my camera I'll share a few pics of our new digs. We have cathedral ceilings in the main living area so the house feels much larger than it is and Steve loves his loft office accessed via a spiral staircase. He thought it was going to be a "female-free" area but Sophie has discovered she can get up and down the stairs. I love the fact that our yard backs on a creek - oops, they call it a canal down here! Since we are about 15 miles inland of Ft. Lauderdale and Alligator Alley is just west of us, we keep our eye out for alligators and snakes. Haven't seen any yet but have already been stung twice by wasps in the backyard - the house was empty for awhile so Steve has a lot of power washing to do to clean the fence, etc. We also have all kinds of little geckos and lizards. They love to sit on the cars. One got a ride to the grocery store, hanging on to the windshield wiper blades.

Not much time to read but I did get a review written today for You by Charles Benoit. This is a link to the digital book as it has the cover art that is so arresting. A very unusual book as it is written in 2nd person and the use of you makes the experiences of 15-year-old Kyle even more intense. Don't know when the review will appear in VOYA. I do a lot of research on the author when I write reviews, especially when I see the term "debut YA title/novel/book". It is does not typically mean debut title. For me, the "debut YA..." is a clue to search for what else the author has written. Sure enough, Benoit's debut novel for adults was an Edgar Award nominee. He is a world travelers and his adult mysteries are set in exotic locals.

I find it interesting how many established authors who write for adults are writing for teens. YA lit is selling as adults have also begun to realize just how well these books are written. Suzanne Collins' dystopian series about Katniss has kept YA lit in the limelight. Bookstores and libraries were having parties to welcome the 3rd book, Mockingjay Pretty cool that B&N is selling it at a 40% discount. All three of Collins' Hunger Games series titles are in the U.S.A Today's top 10 Best-Selling Books in the 9/2/10 issue. The 4th YA title in the top 10 is Stephenie Meyer's 4th book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn No surprise that Eclipse is in the top 50 as is The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella about a "new vampire" who died in Eclipse.

A closer look at the top 50 made me smile as Dav Pilkey's graphic novel The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung Fu Cavemen from the Future stands out as the one graphic novel and it's a children's title. :-) There isn't a Pilkey title that I don't adore. Of course we all know about his Captain Underpants series that has delighted many a child and offended more than a few adults. Pilkey was writing fun picture books, like Dogzilla long before Mo Willems hit the scene with Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Not that I don't love Willems' books, I do, and he is a fun author to listen to talk about his books.

It does bother me that we get so wrapped up in the newest "hyped" authors and books that we tend to forget about the treasures that are already on the shelves just waiting for the next group of young kids/teens coming through the library. I tell my students that there is no reason to booktalk the "hyped" titles as the kids/teens know about them. Booktalk the great books that don't get the attention.

Back to the top 50 - no surprise, Rick Roirdan's first title in his new series about the ancient gods of Egypt, The Kane Chronicles, Book 1: The Red Pyramid is # 37 on the list. The first book in the tween series, Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard is # 42. No surprise as there is a new ABC series based on it.

Delighted to see the old classic children's book Beezus and Ramona is popular again due to the movie. This link is to the movie tie-in paperback. Librarians should replace old editions with ones that have covers that catch the attention of today's youth. For example, S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders appeals to generation after generation of teens and the variety of paperback editions reflect what appeals to teens through time. I love this one: It is time to replace the movie tie-in paperback with Patrick Swayze on the cover! Kids and teens don't pay any attention to publication dates, they pay attention to topics and characters they can relate to no matter what time period it is set in. An example of generation after generation relating to a book character - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is # 20 on the list. Take a look at the variety of covers on this 1961 Pulitzer Prize winner:

The newest top 150 USA Today list can be viewed at: I just printed out the 9/5/2010 Best-Selling Books Top 150 and a quick glance shows 23 children's and YA titles. Of course, Jeff Smith's delightful Wimpy Kid series titles shows up 4 times on the list, including the movie-tie in edition.

Five of Roirdan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series titles are on the list along with two of the 39 Clues series titles. What is unique about this series is that the titles are written by a variety of well known children's and YA authors including Margaret Haddix, Linda Sue Parks, Rick Riordan, Gordan Korman, and Jude Watson, who also writes many of the Star Wars series titles.

It would be very interesting to track the numbers of youth titles on the best selling lists for the last 20 years. I am sure the youth title sales peaked when the Harry Potter craze was at the frenzy level. Just think of how children's and YA books become part of our cultural literacy. There won't be a generation of young people who won't know what a Muggle is even if they never read a Harry Potter book.

Many generations of movie watchers forget they've never actually read the classic The Wizard of Oz by Baum, or even any of derivatives found when doing a search of the title: But, we all know what "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" type comments mean.

That's it for me tonight. I am rooting against Brett Favre and my once beloved Vikings and for Drew Brees and the Saints while writing this. I don't multi-task as well these days as I once did so I need to close this out. I am a sucker for nice guy quarterbacks like Brees. :-) And I dislike the ones like Favre who don't give back to the communities in which they play. All those years as a Packer and he did little for Green Bay. Yeah - I know, I'm a broken record about this but it really irks me!