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On the bookshelves

April 19, 2008

Oftentimes when I need a break from the humdrum of regular life, I head over to the bookstore. There’s nothing quite like browsing the stacks and discovering that a favorite author has a new book out, or randomly picking a book off the shelves and finding a gem. For a compulsive book buyer like me, the bookstore can also be a dangerous place. It’s too easy, staring at all the possible wondrous stories around you, not to buy just one book.

So I guess this is my own version of those cool book coveting posts over at Dewey’s blog. Everyone once in a while I’ll write about the books I find intriguing, kind of an online log of books to be read one day.

The Mysterious Benedict SocietyRecently when I was at the store I found two really cool books while browsing the children’s section. The first one was The Mysterious Benidict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Initially drawn to the cover art, I was immediately interested in the story and was surprised when I found that Sassymonkey was already in the middle of it. Described by the School Library Journal: After Reynie Muldoon responds to an advertisement recruiting “gifted children looking for special opportunities,” he finds himself in a world of mystery and adventure. The 11-year-old orphan is one of four children to complete a series of challenging and creative tasks, and he, Kate, Constance, and Sticky become the Mysterious Benedict Society. After being trained by Mr. Benedict and his assistants, the four travel to an isolated school where children are being trained by a criminal mastermind to participate in his schemes to take over the world. The young investigators need to use their special talents and abilities in order to discover Mr. Curtain’s secrets, and their only chance to defeat him is through working together. Readers will challenge their own abilities as they work with the Society members to solve clues and put together the pieces of Mr. Curtain’s plan. In spite of a variety of coincidences, Stewart’s unusual characters, threatening villains, and dramatic plot twists will grab and hold readers’ attention. Fans of Roald Dahl or Blue Balliett will find a familiar blend of kid power, clues, and adventure in Society, though its length may daunt reluctant or less-secure readers. Underlying themes about the power of media messages and the value of education add to this book’s appeal, and a happy ending with hints of more adventures to come make this first-time author one to remember. 

Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles)Then there was Here by Monsters by Alan Snow. Again from the School Library Journal: Here by Monsters is a fantasy based in Ratbridge, a town populated by a variety of odd creatures and equally unusual humans. Underlings, including boxtrolls (shy trolls that wear boxes) and cabbageheads (they worship cabbage and wear them tied to their heads), live in tunnels and caves beneath the city. A boy named Arthur emerges from his subterraneous home and discovers an evil plot. The shady members of the Cheese Guild, led by an unpleasant fellow called Snatcher, are kidnapping underlings and plotting to take over the town. Arthur’s allies against the Guild include underlings, a man in iron socks, and the pirates and rats who run the Nautical Laundry. There’s a great deal of inspired silliness throughout, which may appeal to fans of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket. Although the characters are not particularly well developed through words, numerous high-quality, black-and-white illustrations bring Ratbridge and its citizens to life, accentuating the comical tone and helping to pace the tale. The action is clearly played for laughs rather than suspense, as when the heroes repulse an attack on their ship by firing balls of bilge-pump gunk using catapults made of knickers. Some readers might lose interest in the sometimes-rambling series of events, but the short chapters, intriguing creatures, quirky humor, and engaging art make this book a good choice for youngsters who enjoy lengthy and lighthearted fantasy. 

Don’t they just sound utterly charming? Of course, I could always save these books for my daughter after I read them, somehow making the purchases justified. Am I right? 😉

A NovelLastly I came upon Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris. Recently reviewed over at Books I Done Read and Baby Got Books, the book jacket says: This wickedly funny, big-hearted novel about life in the office signals the arrival of a gloriously talented new writer. The characters in Then We Came To The End cope with a business downturn in the time-honored way: through gossip, secret romance, elaborate pranks, and increasingly frequent coffee breaks. By day they compete for the best office furniture left behind and try to make sense of the mysterious pro-bono ad campaign that is their only remaining “work.”

Having happily left Corporate America when I had my first child, I think this might be a great book to remind me of what I left behind. Oh, and spend a bit of time on the book website, which is cleverly set up as an office blueprint where you can click on the individual cubicles to read about each character. 

Oh, to be able to buy every book that tickles my fancy!

In the meantime, I just finished Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl (which I will review soon). I also have a couple more reviews in my drafts just itching to be published and will be hosting a giveaway very soon which will include five prizes! So stick around, there’s plenty more blogging to come (and maybe more posts like these)!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Cat permalink
    April 19, 2008 4:13 pm

    Oooh! Book blogs will be the death of me! And it seems the world is telling me to read The Mysterious Benadict Society! All three of your books sounded great.

    I also just discovered Fablehaven and have to go get that one now, too.

    Currently reading a book I am not enjoying very much so all these others are just dangling carrots!

  2. April 19, 2008 6:51 pm

    I know, right? So many books to read!

  3. April 19, 2008 7:08 pm

    I agree! I wish I had the time to read everything that tickles my fancy.

  4. April 20, 2008 4:49 am

    Joshua Ferris is next on my list – after the book I’ve just started – unless I squeeze in March before I get to it 😉 I should have read and reviewed in before the middle of May though!

    Can’t wait for the review of Goose Girl.

    Happy Sunday

  5. April 20, 2008 6:28 pm

    I’m the same way when it comes to bookstores. Sometimes I just don’t trust myself to go inside them!

  6. April 20, 2008 6:41 pm

    I love hanging out the bookstore. Problem is, I always want to leave with a book in hand 🙂
    I have the Joshua Ferris book sitting on my shelves. It does sound good doesn’t it.

  7. April 20, 2008 9:37 pm

    Here There Be Monsters sure looks appealing!

  8. cat permalink
    April 21, 2008 3:17 pm

    I am secretly happy that I couldn’t remember the title “Here There Be Monsters” when I was at the store yesterday. I think I bought enough. 😉

    I have the Goose Girl on my shelf (on loan from sassymonkey) but just wasn’t feeling it this weekend.

  9. April 21, 2008 3:20 pm

    Cat – give The Goose Girl another chance. It does take a little while to get into, but once you get over the initial slow part, it really gets interesting!

  10. April 21, 2008 5:28 pm

    All of those books sound really good!

    I wish I had time to read all the books that tickle my fancy, too 🙂

  11. April 23, 2008 4:53 pm

    A dangerous place be the bookstore, indeed! I run away to the bookstore to just meander, too. One of my favorite ways to relax.

    I’ve been eyeballing your coveted books and have now started coveting them, too. Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve got The Mysterious Benedict Society on hold at the library; just waiting for a copy to come in.

Trackbacks

  1. On the bookshelves 2 « The Written Word
  2. On the bookshelves 3 « Stephanie’s Written Word

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