Heartbreaking and beautiful. I don't read a lot of fiction set around World War II, but the intertwined stories were so fascinating and well-told thatHeartbreaking and beautiful. I don't read a lot of fiction set around World War II, but the intertwined stories were so fascinating and well-told that once I started, I had to finish....more
Less a true memoir than a series of connected essays looking at his own relationship to both running and writing. I listened to this while running, whLess a true memoir than a series of connected essays looking at his own relationship to both running and writing. I listened to this while running, which I think was the perfect time....more
Started reading this while waiting for the first issue of my own BSJ subscription. Nice mixture of Holmesian scholarship, humo(u)r, and a peek into thStarted reading this while waiting for the first issue of my own BSJ subscription. Nice mixture of Holmesian scholarship, humo(u)r, and a peek into the early days of the BSI. ...more
"So I have been considering what kind of Englishman goes to America for a very short stay, carries a magnifying glass and a swordstick, and is well
"So I have been considering what kind of Englishman goes to America for a very short stay, carries a magnifying glass and a swordstick, and is well known to the New York police, and there was only one-" "Conclusion," finished Sherlock Holmes, nodding. "Yes, Arthur, there usually is."
In the seventh installment of Coren's Arthur series, young Arthur William Foskett is travelling alone on a transatlantic sailing, headed back to school in England. The early days of the voyage are plagued by bad weather, and most of the ship's passengers take refuge in their cabins, leaving the dining room to just Arthur and two other men, who turn out to be none other than Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. When the weather clears and the passengers re-emerge, there is a robbery on board. Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Foskett are both on the case. A charming, very funny mystery for young readers, with plenty of amusing references for those already familiar with Holmes....more
There's something about a belly button sweat stain that's just really gross.
Since Bennett's mom died when he was five, it's just been him and his daThere's something about a belly button sweat stain that's just really gross.
Since Bennett's mom died when he was five, it's just been him and his dad. And the best times with his dad have been hot summer afternoons parked in front of the tv, watching their beloved Dodgers and munching on burgers and fries, their "game food". As much as Bennett loves baseball, though, he knows he could never really play, because he is too fat. His dad is fat, too, and when Bennett comes in last during P.E. class runs, his best friend P.G. is right there beside him, so Bennett is mostly okay with his lack of physical fitness.
That changes one beautiful summer day when his dad collapses in front of the television. Bennett doesn't know when - or if - his dad will recover. In the meantime, he has to move in with his bossy Aunt Laura and her family. And Aunt Laura has a mission: get Bennett healthy.
I didn't hear much about this book (which shares a title with another 2012 book about losing an entirely different "it") when it came out, but I was intrigued by the description. It is set in my adopted city of Los Angeles, and I wondered how Fry would tackle the issue of childhood obesity, which was clearly central to Bennett's story.
As it turns out, she handles it very, very nicely. Bennett is a thoroughly believable and sympathetic eighth-grade boy. He knows he is out of shape, and he knows his dad is unhealthy, but he's a kid, you know? It's not his job to worry about that stuff. His dad has to work a lot to make ends meet, and watching baseball games while eating tasty food is their thing. It's how they bond. His dad wants him to be happy. And Bennett is happy, mostly. His weight is just part of who he is.
Another part of who he is has to do with losing his mother. The realistic and sensitive portrayal of Bennett's grief was a lovely surprise. It's a common thing is children's books for one (or both) parents to be out of the picture, whether dead, missing, or just neglectful. It lets the child protagonist get on with being the lead of the story. But all too often, the loss of parent(s) seems to have no lasting effect on the character. For Bennett, it's formative. The loss of his mother has left a gaping hole in his heart and home. It shapes his view of the world.
Bennett's physical transformation is believably gradual, and Fry shows the effort it takes in a realistic way. He changes not only physically, but mentally, becoming stronger and more capable of handling the challenges coming his way. Despite the serious topics addressed, the narrative resists becoming didactic. It is contemporary realistic fiction for middle graders that will appeal to both boys and girls on several levels.
Recommend to: Fans of realistic fiction and tales of the underdog
But how was a theoretical physicist supposed to save the world?
Three stories weave together here, all of them fascinating in their own right: the stBut how was a theoretical physicist supposed to save the world?
Three stories weave together here, all of them fascinating in their own right: the story of the scientists at Los Alamos, including Robert Oppenheimer, the man who would become known as the father of the atomic bomb; the story of the Russian spies, including the unassuming Harry Gold, who were hard at work attempting to steal the secrets to building the atomic bomb, and the efforts of Allied forces, including Knut Haukelid and a few other dedicated Norwegian resistance fighters, to prevent the Germans from building an atomic bomb themselves. The names are important, because what Sheinkin does so splendidly is put human faces to the historic events. Literally, in fact, since each section of the book begins with a scrapbook-style double-page spread of photographs. This is an epic story, and Sheinkin lists a number of consulted sources in the back matter, but he picks out details sure to capture and hold interest all the way through.
This is a fascinating read, with appeal for older kids and teens as well as adults. It has great potential for classroom use, perhaps paired with Ellen Klages' The Green Glass Sea. MacMillan even has a Teacher's Guide (.pdf) already prepared with pointers to the Common Core State Standards. Also check out the post at Reading to the Core, which says of Bomb, "This is the kind of book you could build an entire curriculum around." Suggestions for how to begin to do so are included, of course. Don't limit this book to the classroom, though. After all, who could resist a true story of international spies and "the World's Most Dangerous Weapon"?
Recommend to: Older kids and teens (and adults) who would like a "true story" that reads like a spy thriller.
There are only three types of kids who get summer jobs at Colonial Essex Village instead of just working at the mall, like the normal people do.
SynoThere are only three types of kids who get summer jobs at Colonial Essex Village instead of just working at the mall, like the normal people do.
Synopsis: Chelsea Glaser has spent every summer since she was six years old acting the part of Elizabeth Connelly, Virginia colonist eternally stuck in 1774. This summer, all Chelsea wants is to get a job at an air conditioned shop at the mall, but her best friend talks her into another summer at Essex. Unfortunately for Chelsea, the boy who broke her heart has also joined up. A crush on a new guy would be the perfect distraction, if only she hadn't fallen for someone she can't be with. Chelsea soon realizes she is going to have to come to terms with her past or be doomed to keep reliving it.
Review: From the first page of this contemporary teen romance, the reader is brought into Chelsea's world. From her daily duties as a Colonial reenactor to her not-quite-comfortable leadership role in the battles with the Civil War reenactors across the road, little details bring the scenes to life. Her interactions with her parents are laugh-out-loud funny and oh-so-familiar. Her heartbreak is painfully apparent early on, although the facts of her recent relationship are left vague until well into the book. Sales works in some serious thoughts about memory, history, and "what really happened" in a way that feels completely natural. This is a sweet tale perfect for summer vacation.
Which is why I find the cover so completely odd. It has nothing at all to do with the book. And it looks like she's trying to catch bits of chalk on her tongue, which just sets my teeth on edge.
Final Word: Laugh-out-loud funny contemporary teen romance with a little bit of historical trivia tucked inside - a just about perfect summer read.