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October 23, 2014

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Poetry from the Streets

Poetry from the Streets

For teen in my community, in Vallejo, CA, mentioning Tupac Shakur is pretty much guaranteed to give you some credibility, and his book of poetry, The Rose That Grew from Concrete is one of our most read (and lost) poetry collections. So when I saw that David Tomas Martinez’s debut collection, Hustle, not only name-checks [...]

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

I thought readers here might be interested to know, if they hadn’t heard already, that Malala Yousafzai has just been named a co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is, of course, the author of I Am Malala–reviewed here back in December–which chronicles her struggle for education for girls in Pakistan, and eventual shooting [...]

A Little Lumpen Novelita from Roberto Bolano

A Little Lumpen Novelita from Roberto Bolano

One of the greatest Latin American writers of the turn of the 21st Century, Roberto Bolaño has unfortunately only been known to English readers since his premature death, at the age of 50, to liver disease. His two most famous works here in America, 2666 and The Savage Detectives, are massive, complex novels filled with [...]

The Spark and the Drive

The Spark and the Drive

Wayne Harrison’s The Spark and the Drive is one of my favorite debut novels of the year, and like so many debut novels it appears to have been based on the author’s life. Like his young narrator, Harrison worked as an auto mechanic in Waterbury, CT and he uses that background for all it’s worth, [...]

Unreviewed but not Forgotten

Unreviewed but not Forgotten

“Hey Mark” (a hypothetical reader asks) “how do you choose what you review around here?” Unfortunately, chance and timing play a big role. There are of course hundreds of books every year that could be reviewed on this blog that we simply never hear about or never get a copy of. But what about books [...]

Court Intrigue

Court Intrigue

Whence our fascination with royalty? Back in my high school American History classes, I used to joke that ever since winning the Revolution, Americans have been trying their hardest to make the President into a king–a joke I find less and less funny as we are treated to ever-expanding executive power and a seemingly inevitable [...]

Honoring Librarian Henrietta Smith, Long-Term Diversity Advocate

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Henrietta Mays Smith, 92, an inaugural member of the Coretta Scott King Awards Task Force, will be the first librarian to receive a Carle Mentor Honor on September 18.

Kill My Mother: A New Graphic Novel From Jules Feiffer

Kill My Mother: A New Graphic Novel From Jules Feiffer

A brief account of my acquaintance with the work of Jules Feiffer: I first became aware of Jules Feiffer through his phenomenal, and phenomenally funny, picture book Bark, George (1999). I didn’t know anything about the book or the author–I think my wife brought it home to read to the kids–but I immediately fell in [...]

The Invisible Circle

The Invisible Circle

For the last nine months, I’ve been on a mission to get you all to read the great French mystery novelist Paul Halter (posts here and here) and today I’m back with another of his books. As I pointed out in that first post, his books are translated and published by a tiny house called [...]

Two Books About Black Youth in America

Two Books About Black Youth in America

“In comparing football players to drug dealers, Almond’s point is that football is among the very few limited options available to black youth,” writes Mark Flowers. The Adult Books 4 Teens blogger considers Burning Down the House, by Nell Bernstein, and Against Football, by Steve Almond.

An Interview With George Pratt

An Interview With George Pratt

On Wednesday, we reviewed Above the Dreamless Dead, edited by Chris Duffy, a graphic novel comprised of poems by the Trench Poets of World War I, and illustrated by contemporary graphic novelist. As promised in that post, today we have an interview with one of the illustrators of that collection, George Pratt. Pratt is a [...]

Illustrating the Poetry of World War I, One Hundred Years Later

Illustrating the Poetry of World War I, One Hundred Years Later

There are various dates given as the first day of World War I, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, to the first shots fired by Austro-Hungarian soldiers on July 28 to the August 4th declaration of war by the British Empire, signalling the truly world-wide stretch of the conflict. Whatever [...]

Lock In

Lock In

John Scalzi’s Redshirts was one of my favorite books of 2012 to recommend–fun and funny, Science Fiction but easily accessible to non-SF readers. Now he’s back with another high-concept Science Fiction title, Lock In. A disease called Haden’s Syndrome leaves its victims completely paralyzed–”locked in”–but with their mental facilities fully intact, calling for a series [...]

Detective Fiction Round-Up

Detective Fiction Round-Up

Despite their obvious differences–fifth book in an ongoing series; first book in a projected series, based on a TV show and movie; standalone by a master of horror–the three books under review today share something more in common than their detective fiction trappings. All three should take little to no prodding to fly off your [...]

A New Look at Peter Pan

A New Look at Peter Pan

For such a big fan of fairy tales, you would think that I’d have a healthy appreciation for one of the 20th Century’s preeminent fairy tale creations, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. But in truth, I’ve never much cared for the little imp, even now that my 4-year-old son is obsessed with him and has me [...]

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip

I mentioned in our Best Books of the Year so far post that “If I’d had a week longer, I would have been able to list a tremendous memoir which we’ll be featuring here shortly.” Well, it’s been shortly, and here it is: Keven Brockmeier’s A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip. As a mention below, [...]

Q & A with Matthew Quick, Author of ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

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SLJ catches up with Matthew Quick, author of the page-to-screen hit The Silver Linings Playbook and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.

New Books from Alex Award Winners

New Books from Alex Award Winners

Last year around this time I looked at a far-from-complete list of new books by Alex Award winners to see which ones we had reviewed and might be reviewing. Today, I show my compulsive side by trying to put together a complete list of every 2014 book by a former Alex winner. Altogether, I found [...]

Harrowing Memoirs, Part 2

Harrowing Memoirs, Part 2

Back in January, we looked at a pair of memoirs about young lives stolen through abuse and disease, and today we have two more memoirs touching on the same themes, along with a third which looks at the threat of the law. Unlike Elizabeth Smart’s somewhat older story, the tale of the captivity and dramatic [...]

A Morning with John Searles

A Morning with John Searles

Last Sunday in Las Vegas, on a ridiculously hot morning which eventually made it up to 108° F, I had the pleasure of attending the 2014 Alex Award Program. Ordinarily–as say, last year–at least 3 or 4 of the winning authors manage to make it to the program, but this year, after a brief introduction [...]