Monday, April 28, 2008

Book Review Catch-up

Here's what I've been reading for the past few weeks...

I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade

Diane L Wilson, 232 pages, 1998.
Historical Fiction set on the plains of Mongolia in the 14th Century. Oyuna was crippled at a young age when a horse trod on her foot. This is the story of how she overcomes the bad luck of such an accident. It reminded me a bit of Mulan -- a great adventure that takes a girl to the door of the Khan himself.

Tuesdays with Morrie
Mitch Albom, 192 pages, 1997.
Our RS book club book for the month, this one is perennially popular. It tells the true story of a young man and his favorite college professor. When this kind and generous professor is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), he has some life lessons to share. This was an enjoyable and quick read, and I was able to distill some gems to think about. I confess I liked Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven better, but this one was good too and worth a read.

Our Only May Amelia
Jennifer L. Holm, 253 pages, 1999.
Some more historical fiction, this piece was inspired by the diary of one of the author's ancestors (great grandmother? I can't remember). It has a diary-like feel because it is told in the first person and is episodic, but Holm has dispensed with dated entries. The format works well and we get a little glimpse into the life of a 12 year old girl who is settling in the Pacific Northwest. She is the only girl in the settlement, and seems to find herself in trouble more often than not. A Newbery Honor.

The Professor's Daughter

Johann Sfar & Emmanuel Guibert, translated by Alexis Siegel, 64 pages, 2007.
This is a short little graphic novel that was originally published in France in the '90's. I heard about it because it won the best YA graphic novel award from the Cybils (Children's and YA Blogger's Choice Awards -- for some good books click on the list of finalists in green on the top right.) Anyway, the idea is that the professor's daughter, Lillian, falls for one of the professor's mummies, Imhotep IV when he comes to life. Hilarous randomness ensues. Nobody seems to mind that he's a mummy too much, and the plot twists and turns from tea and crumpets to murder and shanghai -- Queen Victoria herself gets tossed in the River Thames! Fun, and a super quick read (it snuck ahead in line because I picked it up to read during lunch and finished it on accident).

1 comment:

Liz said...

Here's some historical fiction for you, sure to be enjoyed not only by adults but also by young adults: El Tigre by John Manhold. It follows a young man, Johann, from Prussia (think old Spanish Aristocracy) to the United States (some stops in between, naturally, with action and adventure), where he helps establish Texas and California. Lots of action, lots of historical material woven in so expertly that all you'll really notice is the story.

My husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed this book and I was particularly struck by the fact that it's so suitable for teens and young adults. This is definitely worth a look.