Google+ Bookslingers Blog: January 2012

The Bookslingers Bookslinging Podcast #7: In which there are mixed feelings (and our first special guest!)

This week we talked about how e-books are definitely not destroying literature, no matter what Jonathan Franzen says; that some Canadians made it onto YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults list this year, and Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star, on the subject of which we had... mixed feelings. But fear not! Guest speaker and fellow blogger Pippa was here to balance things out.

Books from this week's podcast:

In which Ari is a model of restraint

Every year, Vancouver treasure Kidsbooks has a 20% sale. Usually this is a dangerous time for bibliophiles: 20% off is a perfect excuse to extravagantly overspend on our book budget. One protects oneself from this by taking allies (in this case my friend Jen); people who don't think it's at all strange to want to spend an hour in a bookstore. Unfortunately anybody who wants to go shopping with you at a bookstore dedicated to children's and YA literature is probably similarly vulnerable to temptation.

But I escaped with only a reasonable number of books this year. (And then I went and spent too much money at the yarn shop, but that's neither here nor there.)

Two were replacements, or already-reads that I'd been meaning to actually own for a while. the first was Enchanted Glass, by Diana Wynne Jones. You've probably read this (if you haven't, you should), but if you haven't, I'll just tell you that this is a lovely, comfortable little book, pleasant and well-rounded and rich, and that the reason I didn't already own it is because the Canadian edition took a while to come out in paperback, and also the American edition had one of the worst covers I have ever seen. This is the Canadian cover. Isn't it nice? Enchanted Glass is about Andrew Hope, who inherits his grandfather's house. Surprise: his grandfather was probably a wizard. Full of fairy tales and folk tales and family secrets and friendly monsters and walks in the woods. Delightful.

The second already-read was one of my favourite books of all time: From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, in which Claudia and her brother Jamie run away from home and move into The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. There they stumble upon a mystery/conspiracy about a priceless work of art. I cannot emphasize this enough: this book is amazing, and everyone should read it. Twice. Or so many times that you lose count, and the spine cracks, and the pages fall out, as probably happened with my copy (before my cousin, who was obsessed with this book at the same time that I was, probably stole it). And I'm not just saying that because running away from home to live in a museum was something that eight-year-old me seriously considered on multiple occasions, totally independent of the influence of this awesome, awesome book.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. I picked this one up mainly because our good friend and fellow reviewer Pippa liked it so much, despite Miss Corene's lukewarm feelings about it. It's about an American teenager who goes to boarding school in London, and apparently there's a mystery. I am told that the cover is misleading and that there is in fact no Victorian murder mystery, as it takes place in present day? So far it's... good? I think? Apparently we're going to be talking about it on next week's podcast, so we'll see.

The Grimm Legacy, by Polly Shulman, which Jen made me buy. Okay, she didn't exactly twist my arm: apparently this book is about library pages going on adventures and fighting evil. Basically. More details when I've read it, but with an endorsement like that, come on. What choice did I have? After all, Jen was the one who made me buy Graceling, so I think we can all agree that her judgment is pretty sound in these matters.

I, Coriander by Sally Gardner. All I know for certain about this book is that it takes place in 17th-century London, that the main character's name is Coriander, that there are magic shoes involved somewhere, and that at some point she gets locked in a trunk and left to die.

Also she's ginger. I think. Often that's enough for me, so maybe let's wait until I've actually read the book.

The Bookslingers Bookslinging Podcast #6: We would never ACTUALLY want dogs to talk

It's that time again - ALA Book & Media Awards season! Namely, we talk about the Newbery, the Caldecott, and the 1,567,834 other awards that the American Library Association likes to give out at this time of year.

Books from this week's podcast:

Bookslingers in Brief

You cannot imagine how careful I was not to light those books on fire.
I have a weird work schedule.

It essentially boils down to working like a Las Vegas water processing plant for two weeks and then having three days off. I usually spend one day running around town paying bills, spending some quality time sulking at the Laundromat, buying groceries for the coming two weeks (Will I need five lemons? Probably) and generally Getting Things Done.

For the next two days, I read. And this weekend was no exception.

Notice that I wrote "read" rather than "write in-depth and breathtakingly insightful yet flippant reviews for Bookslingers."

So, instead, we are settle for Bookslingers in Brief:

Bake Sale by Sara Varon

If you do not have a problem with a giant cupcake baking small cupcakes to eat and sell to a sentient eggplant, then you will probably enjoy this graphic novel more than I did.

It does beg the rhetorical question: If you are a cupcake and made of such delectable sugary and buttery goodness, does it really count as cannibalism or is it just extreme gourmet dining?

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

There were only two instances when I wanted to thwack the heroine on the head with a copy of the "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland" DVD. This is a good thing.

I make bad life decisions. The squirrel epaulettes are the exception

Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings

Do you have a significant knowledge-gap about Victorian prostitutes in Toronto? Are you left bereft at your lack of archaic euphemisms for a dude's junk? This is the book for you. 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I bawled.

Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine

Like Sherlock Holmes if Sherlock were played by a dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch in my head. He even looks like a dragon) and Watson was a teenage girl.

Fig. 1 (a) - Dragon. Do not ask about his huuuuuge hoard

The Inquisitor's Apprentice by Chris Moriarty

Diana Wynne Jones-esque romp through the mean streets early 20th century New York. Pretty sure Mother-in-Latkes (You pick the perfect son-in-law, we do the rest!) is the most amazing & delicious spell created.

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriot

Oh boy. Intense retelling of Cinderella in a Japanese-esque setting. Best YA fairytale retelling I've read this year (I realize that we are only 15 days in to 2012 but I will keep you posted about the ranking). 

Dark Spring by Kathy Stinson

Our Canadian Girl makes it very clear that living in Montreal in 1885 involved stepping in a lot of excrement.

About half way through Jan Wong's China but have to stop after every chapter to boggle. 

The Bookslingers Bookslinging Podcast #5: For those of you who like spelunking

This week, we talk about a lot of very deep books.

By which I mean that a lot of them take place underground, in creepy dark caves, both literally and figuratively (two words we also talk about rather a lot).

Book news!
Chris Columbus, of Harry Potter directing fame, is writing a children's book series. We're really not sure what to think about this.

The ALSC Notable Children’s Books – 2012 Discussion List - Some of these will probably be Newbery finalists, if you want a heads-up!

Books from this week's podcast:

The Bookslingers Bookslinging Podcast #4: Best Books of 2011

On this week's Bookslinging podcast, we tell you about our best books of 2011: five books in both Tween and Young Adult categories.

Tween/Middle School

Young Adult

Admittedly, there was a bit of a gap, there, between podcast #3 and podcast #4. We were... on holiday.

We totally planned it that way! Absolutely.