Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Books

Irish Rebel by Nora Roberts 4 out of 5. My friend MaryAnn introduced me to Nora Roberts a few years ago. Since then, I've read a few Roberts' books each year. They are quick reads, get right to the action, and always have a happy romantic ending. In other words---perfect beach reads, which is why I often read them during school breaks. Irish Rebel was my spring break read this year. I enjoyed this book about a woman whose family owns a horse breeding ranch and her love affair with one of her father's hired horse trainers.

The Film Club by David Gilmour. 5 out of 5. I relished this true-story memoir about a man who allowed his son to drop out of high school at age 15, under the condition that the son view 3 movies a week (of the father's choosing) and discuss the films with the father. The book expresses the father's feelings as he watches his son grow into adulthood. I enjoyed his descriptions of how their film discussions led to conversations about real-life issues. Wonderful story depicting lows and highs in a father-son relationship.
The teacher in me was especially drawn to this book. Though I teach, I don't believe that school is for everyone. For example, I have an 8th grade student, A.A. who is in 8th grade for the 2nd time this year. He is earning Ds or Fs in all of his classes and will fail 8th grade AGAIN this school year. A.A. turns 16 next month and has bragged to his friends about how he'll be able to drive himself to school before the end of the year. While I don't want A.A. to dropout, our school is obviously not doing justice for his education. I wish there were more "alternative" type programs for our students. Sadly, here in Jacksonville, unless a student earns high grades and is accepted into a magnet program, the only "alternative" setting is a school for behavior-issue students. Thus there isn't a "match" to meet A.A.'s educational needs. The son, Jesse, in Gilmour's book reminded me a lot of A.A. and other students I've had who lack motivation. I found Gilmour's "Film Club" solution to his son's poor academic performance, to be an interesting change from the norm. :)

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. 5 out of 5. I finally found another teen-lit series! Yea! I am a fan of finding series to read...I love the "rush" I feel going from one book to another until the resolution in the final novel. This is a book about a teenage girl, Clary, who learns after her mother is kidnapped, that her mother has been lying to her her whole life. It includes demons, vampires, werewolves, and witches/warlocks all of whom live in New York City. I loved the plot which revolves around Clary learning things about herself (for example, she has the ability to see supernatural beings who are usually invisible to humans) as she pursues a quest to reunite with her mother. In addition, Clary must decide if she will work collaboratively with the "Shadowhunters" or not. Nice sexual tension between Clary and 2 male characters. I don't want to give more away....but I've started book 2 already!

Sighs...can't believe I only read 3 books. I can't wait for summer. :)


Mrs. Gamgee said...

Great review on City of Bones. Now I know how to sell it! ;) OH, and Nora Roberts had a new one just come out this week... called Vision in White.

Kelli said...

Hi there :) I just came across your blog and wanted to say congrats on your FCAT scores. I teach in Broward County and our 4th grade teachers were ecstatic with their scores, too!

Also, I LOVE the pic of Grandfather Mtn on your page - I used to live in Banner Elk (which you can see from the mile high bridge) and your pic brought a smile to my face! Thanks!