Sunday, June 8, 2008

Book Challenge - Finish Line

In all, I read six books during the 48-hour period.
Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper (235 pages)
Clemency Pogue: Fairy Killer by JT Petty (120 pages)
How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor (170 pages)
The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher (151 pages)
Ellie McDoodle, Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw (170 pages)
Utterly Me, Clarice Bean by Lauren Child (190 pages)

Technically, I think I went about 10 minutes over on the 48-hours, but I'm hoping no one will hold that against me. (and I doubt that I've come anywhere close to reading the most books during this time period)

I reviewed the first two books yesterday, so you can check a previous post for those.
Here are the others.

I have to admit, I didn't like How to Steal a Dog. I realize there are quite a few parents out there who make poor choices or find themselves in over their heads - I could swallow the "we were evicted and living in our car" storyline. What I could not swallow is that no other adults in the story were smart enough to figure that out. The author sets the scene as being in a small town, but my experience is that folks in a small town would find out very quickly that this family was living in their car. More than likely child welfare would be involved, etc. I was impressed with the inner conflict presented in Georgina and the decisions she finds herself making. I just didn't think it needed to go on as long as it did.

In contrast, I LOVED The Opposite of Invisible. Great characters, great plot. I particularly liked how the author portrayed high school cliques and mentioned that the cheerleader was intimidated by the artsy kids. I also liked the open and honest way she talked about drinking and sex and the choices teens face in those areas. Plus, who can resist the Seattle setting? Makes me want to go shopping at Pike Place Market and dodge the flying flish!

Ellie McDoodle is pure fun. I wonder, would drawing in my journal make me laugh more at difficult situations? If I came up with descriptive nicknames and drew pictures of my crabby co-workers would it make me smile? I may have to try it....

Utterly Me, Clarice Bean was utterly wonderful. Again, humor in a difficult situation. I waited until I'd finished reading, but then I had to go back and share the Granddad's friend being evicted from the nursing home because he snuck in the dog and it ate the neighbor's parakeet pages with my husband. It was hilarious.

A few thoughts about the challenge - I learned that I can squeeze more reading time into my schedule. Carrying a book around means you steal time to read a page here, a page there and - guess what - you can read more books!
Most of all, I've been working on developing my voice in my writing. With the assortment I read this weekend (and yes, reading them all together like this really helped) I was able to hear the voice in each of the books. I feel very proud of myself for this. I'm looking forward to applying it to my own writing.
I got an audio book from the library to listen to while driving, but I didn't take the extra step of putting it on my iPod. Had I done that, I probably would've knocked off another book while grocery shopping this morning, doing the dishes, etc. Something to consider for next time.


Little Willow said...

I too loved The Opposite of Invisible. It was so right, for the story and for the characters, so true to that age and those awkward feelings.

Make sure to read the other Clarice Bean books. :)

Lenore said...

That's a good idea with the audio book on iPod. I could've gotten more in while I was doing chores (though audio books usually make me fall asleep).