For some reason this summer I've been allured by kings and castles, stories of corrupt regimes and how female protagonists fight to overcome turmoil. My summer started off with Sofie, one of my piano students, sharing one of her Owl Crate Book Box novels with me - Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart. And luckily, this book is a series! Some of my favorite books are from young adult series. What better way to continue a great book by following it up with another?
So, I finished Grace and Fury within a couple of days, and I couldn't wait to relish in my reading of book two - Queen of Ruin. Two sisters living in a world where women are submissive, specifically in that they are not allowed to read. One sister trains to be one of the prince's 'Graces' while the other sister stands by her side as her handmaiden. But unfortunately, the situation takes a horrible turn, forcing the sisters to survive unexpected circumstances.
Everless by Sara Holland - another incredibly captivating tale as well. I finished reading this audio book treasure a week ago. In an impoverished kingdom - age is something you can sell as blood iron. Need food for you family? Sell your blood, which sells your lifespan. The blood is transformed by an alchemist into coin. Want more years in your life? Toss a blood-iron coin into your drink - bottoms up. Time is added on to your life. This book establishes dissonance between the lengthy lifespans of the rich and royal while the impoverished are forced to sell themselves short, literally.
Currently, I'm listening to The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton on audio book through the North Country Library System's OverDrive App - an awesome app to listen on the go. This book is about women and beauty, how the Belles of society are given the magical 'gift' of making people beautiful by any means possible based on societal trends. It reminds me of Feed by M.T. Anderson and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - the idea that beauty is something everyone should strive toward, an image of perfection. However, the undertones of a corrupt, dystopian society are starting to surface. And, what's even better about this book? It's a young adult fiction series, so book two, The Everlasting Rose, seems certain in my future!
Sticky Notes - A young boy named Foster Summer begins to realize his father is sick, but not just 'sick' with a stomach ache or broken arm. Foster's father has Alzheimer's. This heart-wrenching story intertwines the heartache of a parent and child's experiences with the incurable disease that wreaks havoc on their relationships as everything they once knew about this beloved man crumbles uncontrollably in their home. This story is a highly recommended, intermediate level book. (Grades 4-6)
Looking forward to the next on my list - Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. Already 100 pages in...
I eagerly waited for A Second Look Bookstore to reopen at its new location, and I finally ventured out to check it out. I LOVE used bookstores, and I could spend hours browsing through books. I'm always on the lookout for books to put on my classroom shelf, but I also found a few classics that I've been eager to read for a while: The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, The Inferno by Dante (translated by John Ciardi), Grimm's Fairy Tales, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (Read this last one in AP English in high school).
I've decided to start with Dante's Inferno, primarily because I hear it referenced in many other books and movies. I struggle to put it down before I go to bed at night. I'm on Canto VII, Dante's descent into Circle Four and Five of hell, and I'm truly captivated by the remarkable description, unique imagery, and unbridled imagination of Dante.
Surprisingly, as I descend into Dante's Inferno, I haven't had nightmares - yet.