Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I'm Reading Now

I recently finished a captivating young adult novel that I highly recommend, Gabrielle Zevin's All These Things I've Done. It's set in future New York where the phrase "OMG" is a relic and coffee and chocolate are illegal. Combine this dystopian backdrop with an old fashioned crime drama and a forbidden romance and you have an incredibly addictive read. Gabrielle Zevin will be co-hosting our Annual Extreme Trivia Challenge in just a few weeks and, while that's an event where trivia questions are posed to players from the CBC's member publishing houses, my questions are all for Gabrielle - most notably, how soon can I get my hands on the sequel?! Meanwhile, if meeting Gabrielle Zevin that evening isn't exciting enough (which it, most assuredly, is), her co-host will be the amazing Carolyn Mackler. It just so happens that these two women have published books with the best titles ever. Carolyn Mackler is the author of The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things and Gabrielle Zevin is the author of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac.

When I read a satisfying book and know that I'll have to wait some time for the sequel (Fall 2012, I believe), I often opt for non-fiction as a follow-up. My current choice reads like fiction but is actually a very thorough and amazing "biography" of Cancer. Siddhartha Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies presents Cancer as an antagonist with a story to tell through its relationships to the wider biological and animal world that is also, inexorably, our story. Though the style, format and purpose vary greatly, I couldn't help but think of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief when I was first introduced to Cancer. The Book Thief, you may recall, was narrated by death.I am glad that death does not narrate this one!

If , like me, you are intrigued by Siddhartha Mukherjee's book and like the idea of offering your child something to read that may invite discussion, may I suggest Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt? Seriously, it's sooooooo good. This ambitious young adult novel seems like it could work for anyone roughly 10 years old and up (way up). It runs through a multitude of themes and happenings and seamlessly weaves together so many different story threads, including one about cancer. If parallel reading doesn't work for you, then you and the children in your life may just want to read Okay for Now together.

1 comment:

  1. Robin,

    Delighted to report that I was in our library branch (East 67th Street) earlier this week looking for a follow on for Kick, which I handed to my 12 year old based on your recommendation.

    I picked up Okay for Now and handed it over to him, only to discover afterwards that it was next on your list.

    You've clearly developed some kind of telepathic, or at least wireless, suggestive powers. Nice work!