Best of the Best Challenge: Week 8 Update

This week I was back on track, completing 4 titles to bring my total to 24!

I went back to Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising sequence (Edwards Award) and read Greenwitch. I did resist the urge to finish the series for a while to ensure that I read broadly from the other lists. But it was inevitable that I would return, and I will certainly finished the remaining two titles before the end of the challenge.

The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone; illustrated by Josh Neufeld.

Once again, my graphic-novel-loving husband grabbed a challenge book before I had a chance to read it. And, again, he rated it highly. Gladstone’s presentation is clear and balanced. Neufeld’s illustrations are a perfect match for the tone and help clarify the concepts. This book goes beyond the idea of media as newspapers, radio and TV to examine concepts like information overload and the way technology is changing how we interact with the news. This is another book I would not have read if it weren’t for the challenge and that I am glad I did read.

In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard.

I didn’t enjoy this Alex Award winner as much as The Lover’s Dictionary. It was a fine story. But I never felt like I really connected with the narrator. I’m slightly bothered that I can’t even remember her name, and I don’t know if it’s because I have forgotten or because we never learn it in the book.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater; read by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham.

I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite books of the year in audio format. When I read this book back in February, I loved it and was completely caught up in the story. I loved the setting, the capaill uisce, and the characters. The story lost none of its impact the second time through. In fact, I found myself being caught up in the beauty of the language as I heard it. Some of Sean’s descriptions of the beach and the races are amazing. Sadly since I listen while driving, I can’t write down or mark the places to remember them. There were many details and themes that I noticed as I listened that I can’t believe I missed when I read it. I think I am going to have to go back and read this book again once the challenge is over. As for the audio, I absolutely loved Steve West as Sean. The music is haunting and struck me as very appropriate to the book. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Stiefvater composed and performed it! If anything, I think I love this book even more after having listened to the audio version.

I’ve made such good progress this week that I feel no guilt at taking a break. The copy of Bitterblue that I have had on request from the library arrived this week and I can’t resist dropping everything to dive into it!

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About booksnquilts

I'm the Children's Services Coordinator for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Central Virginia.
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