Book Recommendations by Iulia Sprinceana

October 6, 2015

sprinceana pic

Book Recommendations by Iulia Sprinceana
Favorite book in college:

José Saramago, “Blindness” –> what would you do if you suddenly went blind? What if the whole city went blind as if stricken by an epidemic? A fascinating story unfolding the fragile balance between humanity and barbarity that modern man must negotiate.

Favorite discipline-related book:

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, “Don Quixote” –> the first modern novel, a must read for all ages alike, following the adventures of the most celebrated Spanish “Don”. Decide for yourself if the adjective “quixotic”, derived from the protagonist’s name, is a proper attribute for our hero and his endeavors. After all, don’t we all search for what he is?

Book recommendation for students:

Gabriel García Márquez, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” -> a multi-generational portrait of love, hatred, loyalty and treason, set in the “magical” Colombian setting of fictional Macondo, which won its author the Nobel prize. Let yourself be carried away by its wonderful descriptions of inter-cultural encounters, family customs, and a host of extraordinary events. Ultimately a metaphor for Latin American history, the novel shows how history can be repetitive and hurtful when the human agent fails to comprehend the legacy of his ancestors.

Fyodor Dostoyevski, “The Brothers Karamazov” -> a literary masterpiece; a grappling mix of drama and humor, the story of three brothers and at the same time the political and religious panorama of the Russian empire at the end of the 19th century; a rich philosophical debate encompassing faith, doubt, free will, reason etc. and the all-time conflict between tradition and modernity. It will captivate you like no other book you’ve ever read.

Stendhal, “The Red and the Black” -> young, charming, ambitious, Julien Sorel has it all to succeed. But (how) will he resist the crude social atmosphere of Paris, ruled by hypocrisy and greed? A celebrated fictional character, Julien reflects the state of the French society after Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo, and thus links the social with the individual.

Albert Camus, “The Stranger” -> Why does someone kill another man? What is the connection between not crying at his mother’s funeral and the (trial for) murder? Camus delves into the apathy and dehumanization of man.

Samuel Beckett, “Waiting for Godot” -> since my encounter with Godot in college, I have been an avid reader of all his plays. Deemed a writer of the “theater of the absurd” – in short, drama lacking a plot and using nonsense and wordplay in its dialogue – Godot tackles here a critical aspect for humanity: waiting. Whether waiting for someone, to board the plane, to receive news or a package from home, or simply to learn your final grades, waiting is a foible, inflicted upon us by “modern gods” who test our resistance to a world without apparent meaning.

Theodore Dreiser, “An American Tragedy” -> – Like Stendhal’s Julien Sorel, young Clyde Griffiths aspires to a better life. The novel traces his rise and tragic fall, brought on by the mere desire to succeed. Where does the pursuit for status and power end? An intense narrative rich in description and vivid detail, that will also show you the socioeconomic panorama of early 20th century America.

Truman Capote, “In Cold Blood” -> a non-fiction novel tracing four Kansas murders in the mid-20th century, investigated by Capote for six years. Why did they kill and what effect did the murders generate in the community?

Umberto Eco, “The Name of the Rose” -> a historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the 14th century, the novel superbly combines fiction, philosophy, biblical analysis, medieval studies and semiotics, Eco’s specialty. Can logical deduction solve the mystery of the murder?

Plautus, “Miles Gloriosus” (The Braggart Soldier) -> a classical Roman comedy depicting stock characters in a series of situations that test their ability to trick and conceal in order to find a solution.

One book you would have on a deserted island:

Alexandre Dumas, “The Count of Monte Cristo” -> a tale of injustice, revenge and retribution, featuring, of course, an island; yet, ultimately, a magnificent lesson of survival and adaptation in the harshest conditions.

Favorite authors:

Emile Zola, Honoré de Balzac, Charles Dickens, Emily Brontë, Federico García Lorca, Benito Pérez Galdós, Cervantes, Javier Marías, Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Philip Roth, Graham Greene, Chuck Palahniuk, Fyodor Dostoyevski, A.P. Chekhov, Haruki Murakami

Last read:

Juan Gabriel Vázquez, “El ruido de las cosas al caer” (The Sound of Things Falling) -> inspired by the crash of American Airlines flight 965 in the mountains of Colombia in 1995, this is a story of loss and re-encounter, set during the turbulent 1990s in Bogotá, Colombia, and recreating many decades of history of the infamous drug cartels and drug contraband between Colombia and the United States.

Maria Semple, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” -> Would you like to board on a cruise to Antarctica? I certainly would, after reading this novel. Unconventional in form (comprised of email exchanges, personal notes, memories, but also vivid dialogues), the book will take you from Seattle to Los Angeles and then to the coldest continent, seeking not only a missing person, but her life meaning.

Next read:

Ron Rash, “One Foot in Eden” -> I chose this murder mystery (one of my favorite genres) eager to immerse in the region of my new home.

Judy Blume, “In the Unlikely Event” -> The title, a phrase we all hear while on a plane, waiting for takeoff, caught my attention and I decided to purchase it.
David Harvey, “Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism” -> Faithful to my college double major (Economics/Spanish), I am eager to read this promising analysis of current economic and global market affairs by a leading anthropologist and scholar.


Check out these books recommended by Professor Jennifer Muzyka

April 2, 2013

 muzyka

Jennifer Muzyka is professor of chemistry at Centre College, where she has taught since 1994.

An organic chemist, Muzyka is committed to working with her Centre students in collaborative research.

From contacts made during her 2001 sabbatical work, Muzyka has helped a number of students arrange internships with Kentucky’s Central Forensic Laboratory in Frankfort. She assists students interested in attending pharmacy school, and supervises internships at pharmacies and hospitals. She also serves on the Health Professions Advisory Committee.

Muzyka develops technology to help students learn general and organic chemistry. One of her technology projects, published in the Journal of Chemical Education, involves chemistry game shows (Jeopardy! and Who Wants to be a Millionare?). She has given presentations and organized symposia at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education about the tutorials on her organic chemistry Web site, and conducts workshops to assist other chemistry faculty members to develop their own interactive chemistry web sites.

Muzyka has published the results of her research in scholarly journals including the Journal of Organic Chemistry and the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology.

Muzyka received her B.S. from the University of Dallas and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Favorite book in college:  Alexis DeToqueville’s Democracy in America and/or The Complete Works of Plato

In my Introduction to Politics course, we read DeToqueville’s Democracy in America as well as The Federalist Papers.  It struck me as odd that a foreigner would have such perceptive insights into the American political system.  In the philosophy courses I took as an undergraduate, my favorite philosopher to read was Plato.  I actually kept that book and read it on my own after I graduated.

 

 Favorite discipline-related book:  Mechanism and Theory in Organic Chemistry by Lowry and Richardson

We used this textbook for the physical organic chemistry course I took as an undergraduate.  It was the main text for one of my grad school courses as well.  I appreciated seeing the more mathematical and physical side of organic chemistry and learning about the experimental methods used to understand the mechanisms.  In the course I took as an undergraduate, I was intrigued to discover that organic chemists would argue vociferously about different mechanistic explanations for experimental observations.  My professor shared a story about one chemist saying Nobel laureates should retire before they go senile in a very public argument with a prominent chemist who had previously won the Nobel prize.

This book helped me realize that I am a physical organic chemist.  When that realization hit me, I suddenly understood that different people think in different ways and these ways of thinking often explain choices of college major or career.

 

Book recommendation for students:

I recommend Look Me in the Eye and Be Different, both by John Elder Robison.  I enjoyed these books deeply and was happy to learn that Robison would be giving a presentation on Centre’s campus.  Weissiger was packed for this week’s convocation, and Robison enchanted us by sharing his interesting experiences and thoughtful perspective about life as an individual on the autism spectrum.  Whether you heard his talk or not, you will be enlightened and entertained by these two books.

 

One book you would have on a deserted island:  I would hope to have a field guide to the flora and fauna of the region where I found myself shipwrecked, since I suspect I would be spending a fair amount of time cozying up to nature.  I love field guides.  We have many of them on the bookshelf in the living room at home to assist in identifying the plants and animals we encounter in the woods where we live.

 

Favorite author:  Robin Cook

I have always loved mystery novels, and Robin Cook adeptly intertwines mystery with fascinating medical science that verges on science fiction in its strangeness.  

 

Last read:  Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Spring break was a wonderful time to do some reading for fun, and I finally took the time to start reading this series of books that are making a big splash with the series on HBO.  I am moving more slowly through the second book than the first because I don’t have as much time to read now that we are back into the routine after spring break.

 

Next read:

I’m looking forward to reading Raising Cubby by John Elder Robison.  I was intrigued to learn about Cubby’s interest in chemistry during Robison’s convocation presentation.   The book touches on lots of father-son adventures like how Robison helped his son drive a train, so I am confident it will be full of wonderful tales.


Check out these Books, Recommended by Rita Sallee

January 29, 2013
Rita Sallee, Administrate Assistant/Interlibrary Loan Lending

Rita Sallee, Administrate Assistant/Interlibrary Loan Lending

You may recognize Rita from her help with any of the myriad of responsibilities she performs in the library:  faxing, copying, interlibrary loan lending, transcription, etc.  Rita is also known to the library staff members as an avid reader of detective fiction.  There are still a few days left of the mini-break between Centre and Spring Term, so Rita recommended a few of her favorite writers of detective novels.  Stop by the library and check them out!

Camilla Lackberg

Since Lackberg burst onto the Swedish scene with 2003’s “The Ice Princess,” her nine novels have sold millions of copies and have been published in more than 35 countries. She was the best-selling female author in Europe in 2010. She has sold more books in Sweden than Stieg Larsson.

She debuted stateside in 2010, and her first two thrillers, “Princess” and “The Preacher,” have approached combined sales of 100,000 in hardcover, paperbacks and e-books. That’s good, but neither of the books made an appearance on any major bestseller list.

Jessica Case, the senior editor at Pegasus Books who signed Lackberg just as the Larsson phenomenon was beginning, thinks the first two books have built an audience that will grow.

“They’re sort of the definition of a locked-room mystery,” says Case. “You meet the criminal somewhere. No one’s coming in and out of this little Scandinavian town. They’re not overly political or overly graphic. They’re not your standard bloody fare.”

Tucker, Neely. “Camilla Lackberg, Swedish crime sensation.” Washington Post 26 April (2012).

Lee Child, Jack Reacher novels

For those who haven’t picked up one of these books yet, Jack Reacher is a hulking ex-Army MP. He’s a crack shot, a skilled street fighter, and a West Point graduate with an almost autistic and often hilarious obsession with the tiniest details of life. Think Rain Man with huge biceps and a Glock.

The funnest part about Reacher is that he is completely, religiously, unrealistically off the grid: no car, no home, no Visa card. Not even a suitcase. He wanders around the country with only some loose cash in his pockets — and a toothbrush. (Like everyone else, Reacher’s life changed after 9/11, and he now carries his passport, too). Laundry? No way.

He doesn’t own a car or a smart phone, doesn’t need one. He travels anywhere he wants to go, hitchhiking or riding the bus. And, of course, the fun begins when someone tries to tell him what to do or where he can or can’t go.

The formula is simple and delightful: Child drops Reacher into a small town, where he stumbles on some bad guys, and there’s maybe a really beautiful sheriff or lawyer former military officer around for some romance, and pretty soon Reacher’s racking up the body count.

Drummond, Steve. “Lee Child’s ‘The Affair’: Sixteen Books In, Has Jack Reacher Still Got It”,  Npr 20          October (2011) 4:58 PM.

  Henning Mankell, Kurt Wallander Series

Henning Mankell‘s great creation, the Swedish detective Kurt Wallander, is a depressive, unhealthy, ugly and violent man who is unable to sustain relationships with those closest to him and operates in a world of almost unrelieved bleakness and despair. Yet he is so attractive to a worldwide audience that Mankell has sold more than 35 million books and has seen his character make a remarkably smooth transition from page to screen with acclaimed Swedish TV adaptations preceding the critical and ratings success of Kenneth Branagh’s recent BBC version.

Praise for Mankell extends far beyond the crime-writing fraternity. Michael Ondaatje claimed his works “transcend their chosen genre to become thrilling and moral literature”.  John Pilger speaks admiringly of his “principled political life” and recalls talking enthusiastically about Mankell to Martha Gellhorn, another “huge fan”.

Wroe, Ni cholas. “A life in writing: Henning Mankell.”  The Guardian 19 February (2010).


Check out the Young Adult/Children’s Literature recommended by Crystal Ellis

July 5, 2012

Crystal Ellis, Evening Circulation Desk Supervisor

Crystal Ellis is our Evening Circulation Desk Supervisor.  Crystal has a deep interest in excellent Young Adult and Children’s literature and agreed to share some of her expertise with us.  Stop by the library to see a display of her recommended titles and check one out for yourself or share it with one of your favorite youngsters or tweens.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupa.

Set in the future, when times are very hard and loyalty is what matters most.

 

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg.

This is an interesting book about how 4 random students become friends and teammates and the journey they go on.

 

Julius, Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes.

My all time favorite picture book.  I don’t have siblings but I can imagine this is how it would have been.

 

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

This was one of my favorite books in middle school!

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Gone (series) by Michael Grant.

What happens when everyone over the age of 15 disappears? Chaos ensues!  This series shows what really happens when kids are left to fend for themselves, with super powers of course!

 

City of Bones (series) by Cassandra Clare

 


Warning! These Books are Dangerous

September 30, 2011

In honor of the American Library Association’s Banned Books week, September 24-October 1, several members of the Grace Doherty Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning have compiled a list of our favorite banned books.

Censorship can often be initiated under the guise of protection, protection from material that one believes is harmful or full of corruption.  It is the opinion of most librarians, which has been upheld often in courtrooms, that parents are the only ones who should have the right to censor reading materials for their children.  Librarians are typically huge proponents of the First Amendment.  In the words of  of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (” The One Un-American Act.” Nieman Reports , vol. 7, no. 1, Jan. 1953, p. 20):

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”

Enjoy our list of  fave banned books, these are on display at the Grace Doherty Library, or check out the links at the end of this post for an eye-opening look at other frequently challenged titles.

Stan Campbell, Library Director

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

Although I don’t want to re-visit Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 for fear of being let down,  it was an enormously important book to me and to my generation.  I think I read it twice while I was an undergraduate.  It was one of those books that captured a certain era with great energy and subversive humor.    Mike Nichols’ film adaptation from 1970 was considered a complete failure at the time but looks increasingly good as time passes.  And, of course I read the good parts of Lady Chatterley’s Lover when I was a freshman in high school and I was suitably corrupted.  What else was there to do in study hall?  I don’t think I ever got around to reading the rest of it.

Stan Campbell

Stan Campbell, Library Director

Grace Doherty Library

 

Jami Powell, Coordinator of Academic Technologies and Media Resources and Interim Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning

His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman

For me, this trilogy was more edgy, provocative and intellectual than any of the Harry Potter books.  (Read just a few pages of the first book and you’ll easily see why it fans the flames of the book-banners’ cause.)  Although his series is considered juvenile fiction, Pullman creates a simultaneously anachronistic and futuristic world of noble and memorable characters, weaving throughout some seriously deep, more “grown up” themes of corporate greed, religious corruption, and class abuse.  But hey, you can never be too young to learn how the world really works, right?

Jami

Jami Powell  | Coordinator of Academic Technologies and Media Resources and Interim Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning

 

Carrie Frey, Reference/Interlibrary Loan Librarian

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

 

The racial tensions and extremely racist language used in the novel, in conjunction with adult themes of rape and incest, have served to put it on the banned books list many times.  I love this book for the wonderful characterization of Scout and her father, as well as the atmospheric tension Lee maintains throughout the novel.  The novel decries prejudice and also contains a good deal of warmth and humor. The adult themes dealt with in the book just underscore the quiet decency of Scout’s father, Atticus Finch and help to illustrate that, even in the case of certain failure and physical harm, standing up for what is right and good is essential.

Carrie

Carrie Frey

Reference/Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Grace Doherty Library

 

Patrick Lowe,

Classroom and Event Support Coordinator, Center for Teaching and Learning

1984, by George Orwell

I enjoyed this book for its insight into the future.  I see it as a warning of how the world could turn out if certain trends continue.

 

Patrick

Patrick Lowe | Classroom and Event Support Coordinator, Center for Teaching and Learning

 

Evening Circulation Desk Supervisor, Grace Doherty Library

Evening Circulation Desk Supervisor, Grace Doherty Library

The Giver,  by Lois Lowry

I read The Giver when taking a young adult lit class.  After reading this book, you will think about the future and wonder how things are going to change.

The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games trilogy is one of my most recent reads.  If you have not read this series, then it is a must read! The first book is set in the future after the U.S. has been destroyed.  To keep the districts in line, each of the 12 districts must send 2 children to fight to the death in an arena.  While very dark, there is a small underlying love story.  This book is being made into a movie to be released in 2012.

Crystal

Crystal Ellis| Evening Circulation Desk Supervisor, Grace Doherty Library

For more banned books, check out this list of frequently banned classic titles:

http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedclassics/reasonsbanned/index.cfm

or this list of the books most frequently challenged over the last decade:

http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedbydecade/2000_2009/index.cfm

 

 

 

 

 

 


There is still time…

August 17, 2011

to read a good  book before Centre classes start up in a few weeks.  Here a few titles I have read and enjoyed this summer.

 

Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, by Gabrielle Hamilton .

Gabrielle Hamilton is the owner/chef at the acclaimed Prune restaurant of New York City.  I have not had the pleasure of eating at her establishment, but devoured her memoir quickly and eagerly.  Filled with anecdotes and details about her unconventional family, upbringing and subsequent travels around the world, Hamilton’s memoir gives the reader an unflinching look at her eccentric life.  The depictions of her rural and magical childhood as the daughter of a painter and a harsh French mother whose culinary gifts were passed along to her daughter are truthful and gritty.  The explicit description of her first time beheading and gutting a chicken is, to say the least, gut-wrenching in a terrible, yet very evocative way.  Gabrielle Hamilton tells her story with passion, complete and unapologetic honesty, and a truly lyrical voice.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.

Rebecca Skloot has written an amazing account of the life of Henrietta Lacks, a poor young black woman who died in 1957 of uterine cancer.  Henrietta’s story is horrifying, amazing and still affecting the business and science the prescription drug industry, as well as laws which now protect patients and their families.  Henrietta’s doctor took some of her cells when she was ill.  Without her knowledge or the knowledge of her family, which was common practice at the time, he began culturing and selling her cells.  Henrietta’s cells were so prolific that they are still being cultured and worked with today.  Her family, after her death, could not afford health insurance or basic health care, even though doctors were using the cells from Henrietta’s body to make great strides in the field of medical research  with the development of the polio vaccine, in vitro fertilization, gene mapping , etc.   The family found out many years after Henrietta’s death about the use of her cells when a friend found an article about the HeLa cell and shared it with them.  This is a fascinating, intellectually stimulating, but accessible story about the proliferation of the HeLa cell told alongside the story of Henrietta and her family.  I read it in just a few days as I could not put it down.

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout.

I had read this over a year ago, but decided to revisit it as Elizabeth Strout will be coming to Centre College to speak about this book, a Pulitzer prize winning novel, on November 14.

This book was an easy, but layered read, just as Olive is a complex and multifaceted woman.  In fact, Olive is quite difficult, demanding and harsh.  Elizabeth Strout shows us the layers of Olive, in Olive’s own voice, that of her gentle husband, as well as through the eyes of her high school students and a few friends and acquaintances.  The character of Olive is too harsh on the psyche to absorb in one voice, but the impressions of the other people she comes into contact with over the course of her life allow us to see her as a more complex, if still difficult, person.  Strout’s use of the perspectives of these other characters, some of whom have had only a glancing brush with Olive, allow for  a fuller and deeper look at the whole person who is “Olive Kitteredge”.  The thirteen narratives convey a very good picture of the ordinary, yet surprising, life of Olive Kitteridge.

Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacey Schiff

Do not let the pretty cover fool you, this book is not a light read, but instead a fascinating and very well researched account, of the life and times of Cleopatra.   Discrediting the charges that Cleopatra was a strumpet and a whore, Schiff gives us a picture of a powerful and intelligent woman, revered by the Egyptian people.  Although peppered with annotations and chock full of history, Schiff’s vibrant language also brings to light the color and pageantry that accompanied the rulers of the period.  Remarkable for making it past her 20th birthday in a time in which murder of the family members of a powerful political leader was not only common, but fairly acceptable practice, Cleopatra was a shrewd, intelligent, witty woman with a keen political acumen.  Schiff manages to paint a picture of Cleopatra based on the few artifacts that have survived and incorporates historical accounts of the period to provide a compelling account of her life and influence.

The Sultan’s Seal, by Jenny White.

Jenny White is a Professor of Anthropology and writer of several nonfiction titles on Turkish politics and society.  She has also written a number of historical novels, Sultan’s Seal being her first.  The Sultan’s Seal is the story of Kamil Pasha, a local magistrate, and his attempt to solve the murder of an English governess.  She was governess to the granddaughter of a former Sultan, which adds further intrigue to the mystery.  The customs of old Istanbul are brought to colorful life by White as Kamil Pasha examines the similarities of an earlier murder of another Englishwoman in similar circumstances.  I had previously read The Winter Thief, also by Jenny White, and really enjoyed the story, which is also a mystery set in the time of the crumbling Ottoman Empire.  Her details are sumptuous and the mysteries are interesting.

Still on my shelf to read:

Washington: a life, by Ron Chernow.

I cannot wait to read this book.  However, it has 904 pages and it has sat on my shelf all summer…taunting me.

And

Nineteenth Street NW, by Rex Ghosh.

Billed as a “financial thriller” about economic terrorism, this is a book I would not normally have picked up, but it was recommended to me by a friend as a great read.


Check out these Young Adult and Children’s Books recommended by Library Evening Circulation Desk Supervisor, Crystal Ellis

June 21, 2011

Crystal Ellis is the Evening Circulation Desk Supervisor at the Grace Doherty Library.  In April 2010, she began working at Grace Doherty Library at Centre College as the evening circulation supervisor.  Crystal received her B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of KY in 2002 and her M.A. in School Library Media from the University of KY in 2006. She worked in the school system as the head swim coach for Boyle County H.S. from 2002-2011. Crystal loves to travel, teach swim lessons in the summer, and spend time with my husband, family, and friends. Check out these fun summer reads, recommended by Crystal Ellis.

 

Recommendations for My Favorite Young Adult and Children’s literature

By Crystal Ellis

 

When I was younger I hated reading! It wasn’t until fourth grade, when my school librarian gave me THE BOOK, the first book in the Baby-Sitters Club, that I started to enjoy reading.  That love for reading continued on and I graduated with my MA in school media in 2006.  Children’s literature and young adult literature still hold some of my very favorite titles!

I didn’t read Harry Potter when it first came out.  Not until the 4th book was out, did I read the series. Once I started though I went through them as quickly as I could.  Harry Potter is a great series for young adult and older.  Magic and mystery: who can resist?

The Lemony Snicket series always keeps you guessing at what is going to happen next. The series is about three orphaned children.   Just when things start to go right for them, everything turns into a disaster.  Although somewhat repetitive, the books are a quick read and good for a few laughs.

When I was in middle school, I was stuck in the 1800’s. I loved to read anything I could about the civil war, Abraham Lincoln, you name it I read it.  Gone with the Wind was of course on that list.  Definitely a fascinating book and great love story!

I read The Giver when taking a young adult lit class.  After reading this book, you will think about the future and wonder how things are going to change.

The Hunger Games trilogy is one of my most recent reads.  If you have not read this series, then it is a must read! The first book is set in the future after the U.S. has destroyed itself. To keep the districts in line, each of the 12 districts must send 2 children to fight to the death in the arena.  While very dark, there is a small underlying love story.  This book is being made into a movie to be released in 2012.

The Tale of Desperaux is another book that I read while getting my masters. It’s just a good, cute story!

I have read A Chair for my Mother many times!  This is a great book about a family that overcomes adversity and teaches valuable lessons on friendship, family, and hard work.

Click, Clack Moo might be one of my favorite children’s books.  The story is written as letters between the farmers and cows.  It’s a great book to introduce persuasiveness and bargaining.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was another book that I read during my civil war period.  The book is not set during the Civil War, but a few years after when tensions are still high in the south.