Book Notes and Apple-Related Binging

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Just pass the apples, please. The Honeycrisps are heading out, but the McIntosh are here for pies and applesauce and so much more, oh my! The kids discovered that cider is better than nearly every other beverage they’ve ever had in their entire lives, and I’ve considered where I might hide the next gallon I buy.

In the midst of that, and soccer, and Quarter Horse Congress fun, I curled up for some reading. Admittedly, I was reading middle grade fiction, so it was fast going. But it’s reading worth sharing (and I’d share anyway, as you well know). So here goes…

Apples Weekly Book Talk

Recent Reads

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The Giver, by Lois Lowry (YA fiction)

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This  must have been some book when it came out. In fact, it still must be some book, judging by the number of young people I know who have it on their required reading lists.

I read it quickly, and it was well-written. I was left a bit cold by the whole thing, honestly, but I think that was supposed to be part of it. This is a book that has a number of themes, and I see why teacher-types would want to discuss them with their students. What’s the value of feelings? What’s the value of our collective memories? What’s the purpose of history?

I can also see how this book must have been a bit foundational for other books I’ve read recently, and maybe even for a bit of a genre (though I’m not sure what to call it).

Overall, I was a bit underwhelmed, especially after I read the Lowry’s introduction to the 20-year edition I was reading. She was engaging and clever and humorous: I found myself liking her and disposed to love her novel (which, ahem, I didn’t so much). It’s a good book, yes. It has fodder for discussion, indeed. It’s probably worth your time to pick up and read and see what you think.

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The Case of the MissingNovice (Sisters of the Last Straw, #2), by Karen Kelly Boyce (MG fiction, Chesterton Press, 2014, 2nd edition)

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Sisters of the Last Straw, Case of the Stolen Rosaries (Sisters of the Last Straw, #3), by Karen Kelly Boyce (MG fiction, Chesterton Press, 2014)

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I had read the first of the Sisters of the Last Straw books a while ago, and somehow, I just neglected to get these more recent two read until this weekend.

They’re not for everyone: I have read plenty of commenters and people who will be offended or out-of-sorts by this order of religious sisters. I found them rather delightful, though, and I bid those of a more serious, less humorous bent to avoid them altogether.

Do they highlight bad habits too much? Some might say yes. Are they a bit predictable? Well, it is middle grade fiction. Could the concept be better? Not for me.

What these books do, and what I love about them, is make religious sisters real people. They’re as normal as you and I. They battle bad habits and have foibles and even face unfair neighbors who don’t like them.

I’m putting these in my nine-year-old’s hands and letting her go. I have no doubt I’ll hear some chuckles while she’s reading and that she’ll have plenty of questions and comments to share with me after she’s done.

What can I say? I liked them.

Current Reads

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UnSouled (Book 3 in the Unwind Dystology), by Neal Shusterman (YA fiction, Simon & Schuster, 2013)

I’m expecting to finish this this week, in part because I am just at the part of the book where I am not going to be able to put it down…
American-Catholic-Almanac-cover

The American Catholic Almanac: A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary People Who Changed the United States, by Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson (Image Books, 2014)

The bad thing about being focused on those other books…I only read a few days more in this one… 🙂

What have YOU been reading lately?

*Are you on Goodreads? I’ll see you there!

Curious about what my ratings mean? Here’s an explanation of what the stars mean to me.

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2014, Sarah Reinhard

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5 Comments

  1. Did The Giver leave you cold because of the themes or was the ending rather just meh? Because that is only Book 1. There are three other books that go with it. Second book doesn’t really have any characters from Book 1. Forget about Book 3. And Book 4 ties a dystopic bow on the whole thing.

    • Ahhh, I don’t know. I don’t know if I care. It was probably some combination of the themes and the ending and the whole thing. And I’m not reading Books 2, 3, or 4, thankyouverymuch. There are way too many other good books out there! (Watch me in the next few years. If a kid of mine starts raving about it, I’ll be helpless not to try them…)

  2. I didn’t realize there were more novels after The Giver. I tried picking it up last week, I really did. Any my edition probably has the same author intro. But I guess I have to be in the right mood to read that sort of book.

    LOVED the Sisters of the Last Straw! I thought the bad habits part was the best thing about the books. No one goes out of her way to deliberately hurt others, but you do see the struggle against bad habits, and that’s something everyone can understand. Sister Krumbles cracks me up.

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