105 Ways to Give a Book

My Two Cents

I’m in a quandary. Do I read new books that no one has discussed so that I may register my humble opinion? Or do I read the books that everyone else is suggesting so that I may benefit from their experience?

Or do I read the books that everyone else is suggesting and yet register my humble opinion? There we go.

GossamerI read Gossamer, by Lois Lowry, after Fuse #8’s glowing review, and was determined to add my own voice to the discussion. But apparently not before Blog From the Windowsill decided to look at this book today. And The New York Times. I need to work faster. Anyhow, I also loved the book. Lowry combines the very real (the abuse and subsequent foster care of an angry young boy) and the unreal (the tiny little dream-givers and the horrid nightmare-givers) in an excellent read. I especially love how the foster mom never appears shocked at the boy’s angry statements. What an oasis of calm.

WeedflowerFuse #8 also pointed me toward Weedflower, by Cynthia Kadohata, and with her good review gave me permission to read it. I did not like Kira-Kira and wasn’t sure whether to start this new book, but I trusted Fuse #8’s tag line (“If you hated Kira-Kira, you’ll LOVE Weedflower!”). It was a wonderful book showing how Sumiko and her family lived at an internment camp during World War II. Using a camp set on an Indian reservation was a great choice for the author, allowing the reader to see not just the mistreatment of the Japanese at this time, but of the Native Americans as well. A book well worth your time.

RulesSome kids’ lit blogger reviewed Rules, by Cynthia Lord; I just don’t know who. If you would like to make yourself known in the comments section, be my guest. I was won over when I saw the cover with a rubber duck floating above a goldfish. It seems that Catherine’s brother David likes to put toys in the fish tank, even though Catherine has made it one of his rules to keep toys out of the fish tank. David is autistic and making rules for him makes things easier for Catherine. Their relationship is well developed, and I felt like I was getting a real look at this condition from an author who knows (one of her two children is autistic). This is a great and sensitive read.


fusenumber8 said...

I know what you mean. Whenever I see that someone has reviewed a book that's sitting in my To Be Read Pile I get jealous and conflicted. I wanna be the first all the time! Me me me me me! But I'm reading them and reviewing them all anyway. That way, I can hold my own award ceremony at the end of the year and link to a positive review on all the books I've liked.

Anonymous said...

It's a tough dilemna, when people are posting so many great reviews, but I think you still put your two cents out there. For me as a reader of blogs, seeing multiple positive reviews definitely makes me think "oh, I must add that to my list." And like Ms. Fuse, I like to have my own reviews to link to.

I'm planning to read RULES soon (I have a copy winging its way towards me in the mail, apparently). Glad to hear that you liked it.

Anonymous said...

Mother Reader,
my 2 cents: definitely read and review whatever you want to, whether or not someone has already mentioned it. Your blog may be the only kid-literature blog that some of your audience reads. Don't forget that! The beauty of blogs is that we can also talk about older books, ones that folks can find in the library. I know there are plenty of people out there just looking for a good book to share with their children--doesn't matter if it's old or new.

Kelly said...

I second what the rest the folks are saying, MR. It's all about the journey and the reading, in my opinion.

Bill said...

Reviewing a book dealing with autism is expecially timely, given Time magazine’s recent cover story on autism (which rather shamefully touts the utterly discredited Ouija-board practice of “facilitated communication” as a treatment for the condition).

Bkbuds said...

Yeah, jump on the bandwagon. It creates a good "buzz" for the author, who appreciates it, and bumps up your Google hits.

I also make plenty of space for lesser-known titles that I know no one else will have, because those authors deserve a boost too. And I never know when I really will be first with a great find.