Monthly Archives: May 2015

A serious recommendation – Havoc by Chris Wooding

My 16 year old son shoved a paperback book in my face this morning in the subtle ways that teens have while I was in the middle of pouring blueberry syrup over Trader Joe’s cinnamon crumpets. “ Read it Mom, its great, its dark, it is part of a series.”  The book is HAVOC by Chris Wooding.

My son wants Tall Jake to be his costume for Dragon Con and he is researching how to make hats. A 16 year old researching millinery really should have been a big tip off that this series is something special.

So I call down to him as he races down the stairs to be late to school yet again. “Why is it great?”

I get the expected response. “It just is Mom, I can’t tell you why it will ruin the story. You just gotta read it!It starts a little dark, but then it gets better.” And with an EEP! at the time , he races out the door.

Well then … I see its allure. It talks right to its target market – Young Adult. The book is a mix of story, comic, and chat speak. The story has Frank Miller pacing in the world of Steampunk horror called MALICE. As an adult I see overused tropes and clichés… but are they overused when it is the first time you read them?

A significant element is a memory loss effect which is why the constant references to things in the past that the reader does not know about. I agree with my son that it is more annoying than effective. The history of the book explains the problem with pacing. Originally Malice and Havoc were one book, then the editors and marketing department decided it was too long and broke it in 2. So the second half is missing some of the bridges you would expect in the second book of a duology.

A fun read for a preteen or teen but did not cross over the way some young adult books do to be really engaging for me.

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Award winning books I haven’t read

2015 Pulitzer Prize winners

Did you even hear the award came out? Did you look to see who won? Have you raced to the bookstore to buy it?  Why not? How much did you pay for your last coffee, you last lunch out? That only temporarily feeds your body but an amazing book can become part of your soul.

My husband and I have cherished books that we have hauled all over the country for decades so that one day our child would be able to enjoy the same stories. Make the tales of flying dragon, talking spaceships, and sleeping androids part of his life mosaic. But alas he is average for his generation and physically attached to his electronic game device of choice.   How do we get adult readers if children don’t read?

The numbers are frightening. A report in “The Atlantic” magazine shares that nearly 25% of American adults did not read ONE novel last year. NOTHING.  The number of adult non-readers has tripled since 1978.    Those that did read,  how much they read fell. In 1978 the poll showed 42% read 11 books or more and 13% claimed 50 or more. Most recent poll only 28% reported reading 11 or more – About 1 book a month. Heck! I am in the 1 book or more a week club.

There is hope as the teens and young adults got hooked on reading with hits like Harry Potter and Twilight. I am delighted that Levarr Burton is reaching out with Reading Rainbow again.  As writers are burdened with holding their interest as they become young professional. Be exciting enough so they choose to invest their sparse free time with a book as opposed to a game, a movie or sleep. The obligation on us is to make the books interesting and accessible.  Are you up to the challenge?

So here are our 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners – buy their novel, see their play. Support a writer today.

Fiction All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Poetry Digest –  Gregory Pardlo

Drama Between Riverside and Crazy – Stephen Adly Guirgis

History Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People – Elizabeth A. Fenn

Biography or Autobiography The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe  – David I. Kertzer

General Nonfiction The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History – Elizabeth Kolbert


Til next time, Keep reading,


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