Sunday, May 17, 2009

Having fun with LibraryThing

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about LibraryThing lately. I am in the process of tagging our Summer Reading Lists ( 7th-8th, 9th-10th, 11th-12th) and the YALSA Teens' Top Ten Nominations. Usually I just link the PDFs of the lists on the library website, but this year I am also linking to the library's LibraryThing with the summer reading tags. The school librarians on the ISS and AISL listservs have shared some other dynamic ways to promote the summer reading. Some are making slide-shows, LibGuides (Laura Pearle at Hackley School), or colorful online brochures (Carol Ansel at Pine Point School). Since my library already has a LibraryThing account, I figured it would be a good place to start. Please comment and share links to your more flashy summer reading lists. I would love to have some new ideas for next year.

Through my personal LibraryThing account, where I keep track of books I have read, I started requesting Early Reviewer books. The first one I forgot to read - it got put in a pile and there it remains. The second Early Reviewer book I requested, I made a commitment to read:

Published by Orca Book Publishers, Inferno is a satisfying read about Dante, a lesbian teenager whose first love moves away and does not keep in touch. As Dante rebels in school and at home, she claims her sexuality and finds friendship. It seems so many good books with gay themes are about boys - this has a wonderful female lead.

If you actually post reviews on LibraryThing of the Early Reviewer books, chances are greater you will receive another. And, yes, I got another book by Orca Book Publishers. This one is called Leftovers, and I will read it when I am done with Alex-Award winner Finding Nouf. And I will post a review to LibraryThing, and then request another Early Reviewer book. I think I can keep up with about one a month - don't you? Do you participate in Early Reviewers? Do you read the books you request?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Alex Awards

I promote the Alex Award winners each year as summer reading suggestions to my 11th and 12th grade students. I usually read 5 of the ten winners, and I end up reading books I never would have picked up for myself. Last year my favorites were American Shaolin and Night Birds.

So far I have only read 2 of this year's winners. Actually I read one and a half. I started reading Sharp Teeth, and I can understand why people like it (my husband loved it), but it was just too violent for me. Usually I enjoy reading books set in Los Angeles, but in this case I didn't really connect with the book. But still I gave it to one of my students who is a voracious reader, thinking he may enjoy it. I see the appeal of the book - I just didn't get into it.

City of Thieves by David Benoff is another story entirely. I wasn't excited to read it (not another book about Nazis!), but I couldn't put it down! My husband reads a bunch of the books I bring home, so I have been handing him the Alex Award winners. He is currently devouring a third, which I haven't yet read. He read City of Thieves in one day. He was traveling to and from San Jose on business and the book kept his attention throughout his many hours at the airport. This exciting page-turner starts quickly, and although there is violence, there is also humor.
Smallish and Jewish Lev finds himself on an improbable mission with Kolya, a strong, gregarious soldier accused of leaving his unit during the winter siege on Leningrad. If the two can find a dozen eggs and deliver them to a powerful colonel, their lives will be spared. In their long journey to find the elusive chickens or eggs, they encounter horrors of poverty and hunger, and the sincerity and loyalty of friendship. And along the way, they find out what it means to become men.

Do you have a favorite Alex Award winner? Which one should I read next?