On Books

I've been on a bit of a book rampage lately. Does anyone else experience this? I'll go without reading a book for a few weeks and then I'll have this sudden hunger for the library or bookstore. And then I'll just read for days and days until the hunger is satiated; all the while my husband becomes a little sad because all I do is read and I can't seem to tear myself away from the pages.

For the past year or so I've really enjoyed reading young adult fiction. Something draws me to this genre. I think this is because I had such good experiences with reading as a little girl and the books I read back then still resonate with me today. And so, I looked up a list of Newbery Award winners because I figured these books would all be good reads, and I headed to the library.

Here are some of the books I've read thus far and what I've thought of them:

1.) The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. What I liked most about this book is the protagonist---Aerin, a princess in a male-dominated kingdom. She's strong, tenacious, fiery and she fights dragons. The story flows well and McKinley does a fine job of creating a fantasy world that is believable. It's also a very mature book for the younger reader; I wouldn't call it a kid's book really, more for young teens.

2.) The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman. I read another book by Cushman a few months ago and I really enjoyed her dry wit and straightforward voice. Cushman does an excellent job of intertwining medieval history and culture into a book geared for children. It's a very short read and very enjoyable. Highly recommended.

3.) The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. These books aren't Newbery winners, but they really are a great read a la Harry Potter. I'm really impressed by the intricacy of the trilogy and how it weaves a lot of religious history and philosophy into the story. The story begins innocently enough with a girl named Lyra but it gradually expands into this vast epic about the war in heaven, multiple universes, and even the end of the world. Very entertaining. I'm really excited to read the third novel and finish off the trilogy.

4.) Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. This is another Newbery award book, but I'm only a few pages in. I really like what I've read so far though---the introduction of an orphan named Bud who wants to find his father. The book is set amidst the Great Depression in Flint, Michigan.

5.) March, by Geraldine Brooks. This isn't a Newbery award winner or even a kid's book, but I thought I'd throw an adult work into this list. March won the 2006 Pulitzer prize for best fiction and I truly enjoyed this book. Brooks writes the novel from the perspective of Peter March, the beloved yet absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. The story follows March as he works as a chaplain in the Union forces during the American Civil War. During the course of his travels, March writes letters home to his wife Marmee and their four "little women." A really great read that provides a lot of interesting commentary about slavery too. I've never read Little Women, but perhaps now I will...