The 40 book Challenge discussion

2015 Reads > Amy's List

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message 1: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Post your reflections here.

message 2: by Amy (last edited Mar 19, 2015 05:21AM) (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished Orphan Train. Enjoyed the storyline. I was saddened to learn about this bit of history that I had not really heard before. I liked the dual narrators. Didn't love the ending. It seemed a bit rushed but I would recommend this book. Seems very fitting for a high school audience, although there is one brief uncomfortable scene.

message 3: by Amy (last edited Mar 19, 2015 05:22AM) (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. It took me back to my DCS days and how some kids made it and others different. The description of street life was excellent and I felt like I was revere on the streets with them. Most importantly it made me realize the impact with kids can have--both at work and at home.

message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Continuing to read Percy Jackson series to keep up with my daughter. Finished book 4--the battle of the labyrinth. I've loved learning a bit of mythology along the way. Recommend this series to young adults, targeting audience probably lower middle school or upper elementary.

message 5: by Amy (last edited Mar 19, 2015 05:22AM) (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished American Assassin by Vince Flynn. I had read a number of books with the main character, Mitch Rapp, before, but this took it all back to the beginning. The story of how he came to be a CIA agent and the danger zone of undercover work was intriguing. Hope I never get on his bad side. Would recommend this book to thrill-seeking students interested in fictional terrorism.

message 6: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments I have been trying to read Anne of Green Gables to pick up a book I missed in my youth. Read about eight chapters but am finding it a bit annoying. I think I'll pass on finishing it. On the other hand, my fifth grader really liked it and she's not much of a reader. Perhaps my time for this book has passed.

message 7: by Parker (new)

Parker Altman | 41 comments Mod
I love that you read Vince Flynn. I devour anything he writes.

message 8: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments I love his books.

message 9: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
I am not sure your age has anything to do with your experience with Anne of GG. I better leave that one alone and walk away:)

If you were to recommend a Vince Flynn book, which one do you think I would like the best?

message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments They aren't great pieces of literature, just easy beach reads.

message 11: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished What We Hide based on a Goodreads recommendation. I didn't love this book. It is mildly interesting at the high school level, but the writing is not fabulous and more middle school writing. It is the story of Jenny and Tom who venture to England during the Vietnam War so Tom can enroll in college and avoid the draft. Jenny attends a boarding school. The book changes voice to the various quirky characters at the boarding school, each hiding his/her own secret.

message 12: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
The book sounds like Looking for Alaska in its initial description (minus Vietnam). Is it similar in character dynamic?

What are you reading next?

message 13: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments I have not read Looking for Alaska. I am currently reading The Invisible Bridge which I am enjoying.

message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished The Invisible Bridge which I thoroughly enjoyed. Goodreads keeps recommending World War II books based on my prior reads and they have been good recommendations. The Invisible Bridge follows one of three brothers as his life take him from Budapest to Paris and back. It sheds light on the plight of Jews in Hungary as it allies with Germany, follows an unlikely love story and illuminates the differences in the haves and havenots during wartime.

message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished The Camel Club by David Baldacci. This was an easy beach read written in the similar fashion of prior Baldacci reads. It is filled with conspiracy theories. Written in 2005, it was interesting to read given the politics and national security of America in 2015. These books always make me wonder what goes on behind closed doors that we do not know about and confirms that I'd probably rather not know.

message 16: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished Mudbound by Hillary Jordan.
Description from book jacket: prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family's struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.

--From me--as you can imagine, anything from this setting and era contains tragedy. These books always make me pause and think about how different my life is from this and what many had to endure and are still enduring in the name of race. I highly recommend it.

message 17: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments My daughter and her male friends have been reading The Prisoner of Cell 25 so I thought I should check it out. It falls along the lines of Percy Jackson with a young teen (Michael Vey) who has supernatural powers that evil wants to harness. I found it entertaining although there was a bit more torture involved than I would expect from a book that seems to be the rage with high level young (8-10 yr old) readers. This is also a series, but I'm thinking this is the end of the road for me.

message 18: by Maria (new)

Maria Jernigan (mariajernigan) | 85 comments Mod
Amy wrote: "Finished Mudbound by Hillary Jordan.
Description from book jacket: prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her..."

This book is on my list. The writer's mother is an AP Lit teacher who works as a College Board Instructor in summer workshops. HJ also wrote When She Woke which one of my AP students read and enjoyed.

message 19: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. This book just came out. I think I was the first to check it out from the library. Following the form of Larson's other books, Dead Wake is rich in details and delves into the last voyage of the Lusitania. I have mixed feelings on this author's style. I felt like he gave us snippets of about 100 different people on the ship, but they were random, so I glossed over them. On the flip side, it showed the lack of care that many had as they traveled despite the warnings and knowing they were moving into a war zone. It was quite incredulous to think these people (many very wealthy) thought nothing of crossing the ocean during the war, knowing there were submarines in the areas sinking ships. It was such a "can't happen to me" mindset. His imagery was impressive as he described the sinking of the ship and followed his before-mentioned characters as the ship sank. I could visualize myself floating in the ocean with debris banging into me or sitting in a rescue boat that was lowered down the side 60 feet before slipping and plunging into the ocean. I'd say this was a spoiler post, but as it is historical, we all know what happened to this boat. I definitely recommend this as a read, although it is not the easiest bedtime read.

message 20: by Kristin (new)

Kristin | 15 comments Amy wrote: "Finished American Assassin by Vince Flynn. I had read a number of books with the main character, Mitch Rapp, before, but this took it all back to the beginning. The story of how he c..."

I'm going to get this for the library. It looks really good.

message 21: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished Looking for Alaska by John Green. It was much better than What We Hide. The characters had a little more depth and there was more of a storyline to it. I read it in hopes of finding a book that would appeal to 9th grade girls for our summer book clubs, but there was a sexual scene (humorous as it was) that I thought wouldn't go over well with 9th grade girl moms. In true John Green fashion, the teenagers are coming of age and a bit messed up. It covers teenage drinking, smoking and sex. While there were some lessons to be learned from it that would have made good conversation with teenage girls, I don't think it would meet the mom approval standards.

message 22: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments When I read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier I couldn't help but feel incredibly fortunate to be born where and when I was. This story follows the life of Ishmael Beah as he navigates war torn Sierra Leone. In an effort to stay alive, he becomes a child soldier, experiencing true horror in his environment and inflicting the same upon those he encounters. It is in such contrast to the lives of the kids we work with each day that it is hard to comprehend. It is a book that I highly recommend if for no other reason than to instill a sense of gratefulness in each of us.

message 23: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Read David Baldacci's new book Memory Man. It was enjoyable for a quick airplane read. It introduces a new character series in former detective Amos Decker who has a photographic memory. I recommend it in the mass produced crime and suspense category.

message 24: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Read Then They Came for Me: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival, an amazing story of Maziar Bahari, a Canadian-Iranian journalist who was falsely imprisoned in an Iranian prison following the 2009 election. This was a graphic description of life in an Iranian prison coupled with a lesson on politics in Iran. I found it fascinating, and although our government often seems dysfunctional, it is a dream compared to what is going on in other countries. I highly recommend this book if you like memoirs.

message 25: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Read When She Woke, a futuristic story of The Scarlet Letter, a time when criminals were "chromed" according to their offenses. Their skin was colored, i.e. red=murder. The line between church and state is blurred and it challenges Hannah to evaluate everything she has been taught as she navigates a society as a "Red".

message 26: by Amy (last edited Jun 17, 2015 05:14PM) (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finished The Girl on the Train. This book reminded me a lot of Gone Girl. It features some twisted relationships and a missing wife. I thought it was ok, but found it hard to empathize with any of them as all the characters seemed to bring on their own mess. I guess it reinforces that we are all flawed and broken.

message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Read The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League with my Women's Book Club. It was a gut-wrenching book and provided an insightful glimpse into the streets and life of a young, black man in Newark who made it to Yale but couldn't overcome his background to get out. It was a difficult book to read because you knew what was going to happen, but you can't change it. I kept hoping that there would be a different ending, but there wasn't--hence the "tragic" part of the title.

message 28: by Amy (new)

Amy | 26 comments Finally finished It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War--the story of a female photojournalist who travels the most intense parts of world taking pictures. You follow her through the war zones of Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq and many more. It amazed me the dangers these journalists face as well as the access they are granted into the most intimate moments of their subjects' lives. I found it difficult to imagine asking to take a picture of the last moments of a child's life or victims of rape or bombings. It unsettled me a little. I did develop a new appreciation of what it takes to get us the news.

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