I have listened to all Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective books, including the newest, “The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café” (Recorded Books, 9.75 hours). This is his 15th about Precious Ramotswe, the “standardly built” lady detective from Botswana. I count on the audios’ consistencies and never tire of the samenesses. This one, however, surprised me.
Gayle Forman is coming to Flyleaf on Thursday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. where she’ll appear with local young adult superstar author, Sarah Dessen. They will be celebrating the release of Gayle Forman’s fifth novel, “I Was Here” (book from Viking, audio from Listening Library, ages 14 and up).
I am writing this on the longest night of the year, or the shortest day, depending on your perspective. The composition process will span both the day and the night. As I sit here I can feel, in some deep place, the shift in the tilt of the earth -- that cosmic return from darkness to light.
Columnist Susie Wilde picks her top books of 2014.
Recently I taught a professional development class for teachers that yielded fascinating discussions about books that best serve learning disabled students.
As school begins, I always think of how my children as teenagers, gave up reading for pleasure because of coursework demands. Many of the books they were assigned were existential reads that they cared little about and didn’t care to discuss. I’ve been remembering this often as I’ve listened to some incredible new YA audios, many of which would engage adults as well.
John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars” (Penguin Books, Brilliance Audio read by Kate Rudd; ages 13 and up) won fans of all ages when he courageously wrote about two teens dying of cancer who fall in love. Probably the factor that skyrocketed this book to fame (and into movie theaters) is that it provides equal measures of tears and laughter. It will undoubtedly send teens looking for another book that’s similar.
For years I’ve sought out Native American books, mostly because they are some of the least-published children’s books of diversity. I’ve seen these books develop, and recently listened to two incredible coming-of-age stories by people from within the culture.
Active middle-graders want action-packed reading. Here are two book/audio titles that will grab them and hold them:
As Ellen Hopkins was “finding herself as a writer,” she published hundreds of articles, wrote 20 non-fictions and picture books for children and escaped into poetry and short fiction to feed her creative soul. She had no intention of writing for teens until the idea for her first novel “Crank” (McElderry) came to her.
Chapel Hill writer, Randi Davenport’s “The End of Always” (book from Grand Central Publishing; audio from Hachette, approximately 10 hours) plunks readers down in the immediate and intense world of 17-year-old Marie Reehs. Life is harsh enough in 1907 Waukesha, Wisconsin, but Marie recounts the sudden illness and death of her young brother, too abruptly followed by the death of her mother from “an accident” that Marie believes was a murder committed by her father.
I’ve recently begun the Catie-G’ma Bookclub, an attempt to keep connected with my long-distance 2-year-old granddaughter.
When it comes to cars, I look for reliability. I don’t care about a sleek shape, a shiny paint job, a flashy color. When I was young, my stepfather handed me down his Riviera which he called a “classic.”
I’ve recently begun the Catie-G’ma Bookclub, an attempt to keep connected with my long-distance 2-year-old granddaughter. It all began a couple months after my Christmas mailing and my son told me that the packages I sent wrapped arrived unwrapped. Standing in line at the post office several months later, I was thinking about a solution to better book sending and missing my little Catie like crazy when I spotted these wild looking festive mailers.
“I can’t stop my children from arguing in the car,” a friend told me recently. “But when I put in an audio, it works magic.” So began my journey into exploring recent audio books that might please her children. Her daughter at 3 loves fiction and her son, at 5, is a nonfiction fan. That’s quite a lot of disparity in terms of age and interest, but made a nice spectrum for young interests. She agreed to take some audios on “test drives,” to see if they could shift her children’s moods from squabbling to shared pleasure.