Tag Archives: memoir

May Book Horoscopes!

IntroWhy hello there, all you Push To Talk readers! The Greenwood Teen Advisory Board is proud to present you with this month’s issue of the Monthly Book Horoscopes, which are book recommendations based on YOUR Zodiac sign!

It’s May, and that means that the end of the school year is finally within reach. We thought we might take a look back and celebrate what school is actually all about (and no, it’s not torture)… learning! Each year we read a lot of great books in school, so this month’s issue consists of books which we were forced to read for school and ended up loving. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did! ❤ 🙂

haroun and the sea of stories

Aries Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

This beautiful story tells the tale of Haroun, a boy who, in telling his own story, discovers what exactly makes stories and storytelling so important. The book is full of adventure and fun magical realism!

 

 

great expectations

Taurus Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

We know what you’re thinking. “Seriously? That book sounds soooo boring…” Not so! Great Expectations is fun, and nowhere near as dry as you may expect. It’s a classic… you HAVE to read it! 😉

 

 

madame bovary

Gemini Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Originally published in 1856, this groundbreaking novel sent major, scandalous waves crashing through French society. It cleverly satirizes society in a way that is also quite dark, intense, and somewhat sad.

 

 

night

Cancer Night by Elie Wiesel

This book is a tragic and important memoir. Elie Wiesel describes his experience as a Jewish prisoner in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Though it is short, it is well-written and very meaningful.

 

 

as i lay dying

Leo As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

This book is told from the perspectives of members of a poor southern family when their mother dies, leaving them questioning the value of their existence and relationships with others while their family begins to fall apart.

 

joy luck club

Virgo The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

This book tells about the lives of four Chinese immigrant families in San Francisco. It tells about the struggles of living as an immigrant in America, and the story is centered on the game of mahjong, which they play together.

 

 

1984

Libra 1984 by George Orwell

If you haven’t read 1984 yet, you should, because it is essentially the prerequisite to all those fun YA dystopian books we are seeing so much of today. The thrill and caution of this classic will haunt you for a while. Remember, Big Brother is always watching so he will know if you don’t read it!!

 

raisin in the sun Scorpio A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

This is a raw and moving play about an African American family living in the 1950s. They not only struggle to prosper in a discriminatory society and to coexist with one another in a difficult environment.

 

 

pride and prejudiceSagittarius Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Do not dismiss this novel based purely on its reputation as a “romance novel.” Give it a read and you will be blown away by the hilarity and brilliance of Jane Austen’s wit as she satirizes the society of Regency England.

 

legendCapricorn Legend by Marie Lu

Legend takes place in the Republic, the dystopian remnants of the western United States. Day is 15 and has failed his Trial, making him the most wanted criminal in the Republic, and June, another 15-year-old, is commissioned to hunt him down and kill him. Nobody expected what happens next…

 

little princeAquarius The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

While this book is intended for a younger audience, it has a beautiful message that is prevalent to people of all ages. This little prince will remind you to live life with an open imagination and a kind heart.

 

 

running in the familyPisces Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

This autobiographical novel explores many different writing styles and methods as Michael Ondaatje retells his own story along with that of his family. This book is full of beautiful imagery and careful examination of the relationships we have with other people.

 

Thank you so much to everyone who has been reading these Horoscopes so far this year. We hope we’ve taken care of you and that you’ve found something good to read every month. We love you (almost as much as we love books)!! Happy reading!

Greenwood Teen Advisers

GWD

 

April Book Horoscopes!

Book logoHi there, readers!  We promised you a special horoscope surprise this month, and the time has come to unveil it.

As you may know, April is National Poetry Month.  So, in honor of this event, our teen astrologers have carefully selected a phenomenal collection of poetry as your suggested reading material this month. It’s time for you to find out which poetry is best suited for YOUR Zodiac sign. 🙂

AriesAries  Pushing Through Solid Rock” by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Rainer Maria Rilke was a poet from Austria who wrote hundreds of beautiful, lyrical poems in different languages like German and French. To read more, check out Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, an eBook compilation of his work.

It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.

I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:
then your great transforming will happen to me,
and my great grief cry will happen to you.

 

TaurusTaurus  “A Suggested Campaign Song” by Alice Duer Miller

Alice Duer Miller was a feminist writer and poet who wrote satirical poems for the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900s. You can find more of her work by following this link or by checking out one of her books, such as Women Are People!, from the library.

We are waging-can you doubt it?
A campaign so calm and still
No one knows a thing about it,
And we hope they never will.
No one knows
What we oppose,
And we hope they never will.

We are ladylike and quiet,
Here a whisper-there a hint;
Never speeches, bands or riot,
Nothing suitable for print.
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we never speak for print.

Sometimes in profound seclusion,
In some far (but homelike) spot,
We will make a dark allusion:
“We’re opposed to you-know-what.”
No one knows
What we oppose,
For we call it “You-Know-What.”

Continue reading

March Book Horoscopes!

IntroWhy hello there, lovely readers! A new month is here, and that means it’s time for the next installment in everybody’s favorite recurring blog series. We are pleased to present you with the March installment of Greenwood Teen Advisory Board’s (TAB) Monthly Book Horoscopes, book recommendations based on YOUR Zodiac sign!

This issue is packed with a great variety in genres and, as always, covers books from all reading levels. Get excited, readers, because SPRING!!! is finally just around the corner! To celebrate, we have a special treat planned for our April issue… so stay tuned!

Aries

Tomboy by Liz PrinceTomboy

This endearing memoir in the form of a graphic novel tells the relatable story of growing up and trying to find a social identity. Liz Prince has never identified with the girly girls, but she also doesn’t truly fit in with the bros. What does it really mean to be a girl? Anybody who has been through middle school (and anybody who still has that adventure ahead of them) will relate to this book.

Taurus

Good OmensTaurus by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

If you like mythology, satire, and/or knee-slapping wit, then congratulations! – read this book.  Legendary authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett team up to tell the hilariously original and most decidedly fact-checked account of how the apocalypse actually happened. Angels, demons, and prophecies twisted together with some modern humor = this deliciously wordy bible of brilliance.

Gemini

The Eye of the World by Robert JordanEye of the World

Fantasy lovers looking for something new to read, your search is over! This book is the first installment of the Wheel of Time series, an epic saga that has been around since 1990. These adventures draw on all kinds of different mythologies to create a world crafted so intricately you won’t want to leave. It’s a good thing there are fourteen books in the series. You will be reading for a while!

Cancer

Ender's GameEnder’s Game:  Battle School by Orson Scott Card

You may have already read the great science-fiction novel Ender’s Game. You may even have seen the movie that came out in 2013! But the real question is, have you read it in graphic novel format? We didn’t think so. This special adaptation puts a new twist on the original story with illustrations that allow you to experience Ender’s adventures in battle school in a whole new way.

Leo

Something to Blog About by Shana NorrisSomething to Blog About

Libby Fawcett is blogging about her life online, in secret. The blog is where she can rant and vent about all the things she isn’t able to (or simply doesn’t wish to) discuss in person with anybody in her life. But what is going to happen when her blog is exposed for everyone to see? This book is a great coming of age story about the tribulations of being a girl in high school.

Virgo

Barrel FeverBarrel Fever by David Sedaris

This snappy collection of short stories and essays attacks everyone and everything – nobody is safe from David Sedaris’s cracking wit. If you are looking to bring a little more sarcasm and humor into your life, this should definitely be next on your to-read list! Please note that this book caters more towards an older audience – parental guidance is suggested for our younger readers.

Libra

Heist Society by Ally CarterHeist Society

Katrina Bishop was born into a family of con men, and now she believes to finally have left that life behind her. She attends a fancy boarding school and doesn’t want to go back to her family’s scheming ways. But when she finds out her father is in trouble for stealing a series of priceless paintings, she needs to intervene. The suspense and girl-power is awesome! This book is the first book in a series.

 Scorpio

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

This is a story about a girl named Amy Curry who has to spend her summer driving her mother’s car from California to Connecticut in lieu of their cross-country move. An old family friend, Roger, accompanies her on the trip. Roger and Amy, who is struggling to come to terms with her father’s recent death in a car accident, discover a lot about each through their journey through this cute, inspiring book.

Sagittarius

Redshirts by John ScalziRedshirts

Andrew Dahl is excited to assume his new position in xenobiology on the starship Intrepid. But soon Andrew starts to notice something fishy going on with the mysterious Away Missions, which always seem to render one lower-ranked crew member dead. Set hundreds of years in the future, this is an excitingly original sci-fi read packed with suspense and guaranteed to satisfy your thirst for adventure.

Capricorn

The SilmarillionThe Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

If you are an unsatisfied Lord of the Rings fan dying for more material to sink your teeth into, then you need to check out the Silmarillion. This book is Tolkien’s deeper look into the mythology of Middle Earth, with explicit explanations of its legends and painstaking accounts of its histories that give insight into the cultures, languages, and backstories of the characters we see in Tolkien’s famous epics.

Aquarius

Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen CooperAquarius

No, not that Odyssey – this book is about the journey of a very special cat named Homer. This heartwarming true story explains how Homer changed Gwen Cooper’s life, not only through his incredible persistence and will to survive through times of tragedy but also through the way she saw her own struggles reflected in him. Read this book if you like kitties, but also if you want to feel inspired.

Pisces  

Half MagicHalf Magic by Edward Eager

What happens when you wish on a magic coin that is only worth half as much as a normal one? The answer is described in this charming novel and contains just the right amount of silliness balanced with profound life insights. Readers of any age will laugh and sigh as they follow the mischief that ensues when four children misguidedly wish their hearts’ desires to come half true.

Remember to come back in April to get your next astrologically endorsed recommendation! We love you, happy reading!!

–Greenwood Teen Advisers

GWD

A Rant about Dance Books

PointeIn the interest of full disclosure, I meant to write about Pointe, the first novel of Brandy Colbert.

However, I quickly realized that everything I was writing became a dance book rant, so I gave up and decided to (officially) write about the challenges of finding a good dance book for someone over the age of 10.

See, generally they fall into one of the several categories below:

1) The Children’s Book.  There is nothing wrong with this form, per se, but there are two ways this book can go: the instruction manual (which is always oversimplified and often inaccurate); and the dance story in which everything is hunky-dory. The characters are always full of promise, dance all the time, and never get injured (I’m looking at you, Ballet Shoes). I understand that no one wants to scare children, or kill their dreams, but this just isn’t reality.

2) The Book Where the Author Has No Clue What They Are Writing About.  We’ve all heard the saying “write what you know.”  Unfortunately, many authors completely forget about this when it comes to writing dance novels. I recently read Withering Tights by Louise Rennison, which I started because the main character was an Irish dancer.  However, I soon realized that Rennison had not done her research: she called one of the moves “twisty ankle things.”  Not only would no self-respecting Irish dancer describe a move like that, but it is not descriptive.  There are so many moves Rennison could mean:

As you can tell, all these moves are very different and all could be described as “twisty ankle things.”

3) The Author Has Actually Done Research And Still Doesn’t Get It.  Even if the author has learned about dance, and really has done their best, it doesn’t mean they can describe dance.  I do understand this: I’ve been dancing for years, and I often cannot describe the sensation of dancing—partly because it may change on a day-to-day basis, but mostly because I can’t really explain to non-dancers how it feels.  Even so, why would one try to write about something they can’t describe?

However, there are a few beacons of hope for people looking for good dance books.  The first is On Pointe, by Lorie Ann Grover.  This is the story of a young dancer forced into early retirement when she grows too tall to dance, and is written in verse.  The second is I Was A Dancer by Jacques D’Amboise, a lovely (if not always perfectly written) memoir.  Finally, try Bunheads by Sophie Flack.  Each of these explains what if feels like to dance, and I’ve re-read these several times.  Happy dancing!

–Emma, Greenwood Teen Adviser

GWD

Book Shorts: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Title: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Author: David Sedaris

Summary: A collection of hilarious, and at times painful, anecdotes about Sedaris’s life. Vague description? Maybe, but the book is so eclectic (one chapter chronicles an aggravating apartment-hunting adventure while another is a candid account of growing up gay in a homophobic household) that it cannot be summed up with a single adjective.

One man’s life stories, brilliantly told. I loved…how interesting every essay was. I couldn’t directly relate to, say, a tale of mistaken identity, but I still couldn’t put it down because the storytelling was so vivid. I would normally pick a novel over a memoir, but this one was so captivating that its realness made it even more powerful. 

I started reading because…I was in Costa Rica on vacation, and on the drive from the airport to the town where I was staying, the rental car was robbed and all my bags were stolen. I briefly panicked that I would have no reading material, but the house did have one English book: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

I kept reading because, well, it was the only thing I had. But I would have anyway; you can’t start a great story and not stay to hear the end.

If David Sedaris was in a high school yearbook, he would be voted… Most Humorous or maybe Most Unique.

On a deserted island, David Sedaris would probably… get himself into some kind of near-death situation, yet remain startlingly calm throughout, and then write about it. Definitely write about it.

Online resources: Sedaris on NPR other books, and a Rookie Mag article.

– Greta, 16, Teen Center Adviser
 

Book Group: Always Running

La vida locaWhen the Library brought Luis Rodriguez to Seattle in November, students at Consejo read his book and wrote about their reactions to it. Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing some of their thoughts.

This is an inspiring book, it speaks the truth. It’s an everyday life for a teen out in this crazy world. Every single paragraph has detail that makes you believe its your life being told. It’s like a movie in your mind.

This book motivated me to find the way to break the cycle of the gang history in my familias past generations by helping others. People in similar struggles that can’t find a way to fight against the life style you once lived, that had you chained up. You opened the eyes of many teens to find the key to freedom and unlock the chains keeping them from a better life. Gang life has affected many but reading your book has motivated me to go to college and leave the past and become the future .

 Alondra, 15, Teen Blogger

 

Book Group: Always Running

Always RunningWhen the Library brought Luis Rodriguez to Seattle in November, students at Consejo read his book and wrote about their reactions to it. Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing some of their thoughts.

It’s really sad how Luis saw all this. People getting shot, beaten, and lots of arrests. He saw people selling drugs and heard that people that he knew had commited suicide.

Luis said that when he had turned eighteen years old,  about twenty-five of his friends had been killed by rival gangs police, drugs, car crashes and also suicides. What I felt when I read that part was that he has really been through a lot. But I know he had been through more than that. His mother was the only one in their family that actually completed high school. His unclies, Kiko and Rodolfo, crossed the border to find work, and they came back with NICE stories from the other side of the border.

Lilith, 13, Teen Blogger