Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best November Read

YA Highway RTW time again! This week's topic asks you to dish about the best book you read in November. For me, it was:

From Goodreads:

Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.
With such an intriguing premise, I had to read this one. If you love paranormal romance, you won't want to miss it.  The relationship between Amelia and Joshua is so sweet, and I couldn't help but root for them despite the obstacles they face--a grandmother who wants to banish unclaimed spirits like Amelia who died in the river below a bridge, a possessive and dark spirit named Eli who wants to claim her for his own and will stop at nothing to do so,  and of course the fact that she's dead.  The story was unputdownable, and I'm so looking forward to reading the sequel(s).  
What was the best book you read in November? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Your Required Reading List

This week's topic:
In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

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So many books to choose from, so little time! Of course, there's no question that the classics have to be kept. But how do you choose books that will really inspire a love of reading and get students naturally using all those critical thinking skills teachers want to see?

It happened with the Harry Potter series, where avid fans spent hours and hours online discussing the plot, the characters, the relationships, their theories about what the future of the series would hold. Oh, and of course creating everything from role play stories, to fanfiction, to a new genre of music! Even if it hadn't been a truly incredible fantasy series, for that reason alone it would be wonderful to see new students introduced to the series so they can discover the magic for themselves.

I'd also include the Hunger Games trilogy.  That could lead to a great discussion about society (What makes their society dystopian? How did it become so? Is our society dystopian in its own way and what might our society be like a hundred years from now, a thousand?), the symbolism of the Mockingjay, the characters, and much more.  I discovered an anthology, The Girl Who Was On Fire, with some wonderful author essays discussing politics, the effects of the games on the tributes, and many other aspects of the trilogy. The link to the anthology also has excerpts from the essays.

Those are my top required reading picks for generating great reading discussions.  Can't wait to see what others chose!