Ten writers for children. All with something to say.

9/8/10

What I did (and read) this summer


For the fourth summer in a row I was able to spend a week at fellow spud Lauren Stringer's guest house in the small town of Grand Marais, Minnesota, where I enjoyed my own private writing retreat. Though I spent some long hours working on the revisions to a middle grade novel, I also found time to hike in the north woods and relax along the rocky shore of Lake Superior. Waking up each morning to the cry of seagulls made me feel like I was someplace very exotic.

The summer did not slip by without me discovering some good books. Here are my favorite reads from the past three months:

THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork. In this expertly written young adult novel, the unexpected friendship between two teenage boys (one dying of brain cancer, the other determined to kill the man he believes murdered his sister) causes each to rethink the direction of his own life. Stork's MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD was my favorite book of last year, and his follow-up novel did not disappoint me.

WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin. This is the type of folk tale book I would have loved when I was ten years old. I loved it at age 49 as well.

THE CARD TURNER by Louis Sachar. Aimed at a slightly older audience than his book HOLES, this is the tale of a teenager unwillingly recruited to "read" the cards for his crotchety blind uncle. I never dreamed that I'd find bridge so suspenseful. Several surprising turns kept me riveted.

THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordian. I've heard kids talking up this book at elementary schools, so I thought I'd see what all the hype was about. Very enjoyable and plenty of clever Greek myth references. I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to reading the entire series, though.

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett. Set in the south during the 1960's, this book depicts the relationship between black maids and their white employers. An interesting look into a world very different than my own.

I'm looking forward to reading other people's lists, and adding some new titles to my fall roster of "books to read."

7 comments:

Christy said...

I have not spent time by the Great Lakes, but I would have sworn you were at the seashore. What an idyllic setting for work and refreshing your spirit. Great reading list too. I will add these titles to my must-read list.

Edie said...

David,
This sounds like a marvelous retreat spot. And thanks for another good list. My "to read" list is growing.

Stephanie said...

That area is so beautiful, haven't been there since I was a kid. I'm still on the waiting list at the library for The Help...

Lauren said...

Our little houses in Grand Marais, where David has spent four summers are located just behind the Grand Marais Library and we rent them out to our artist and author friends for retreats. I am so glad it worked again for another summer for you David! And I love your book lists. I had wondered about the Louis Sachar-- I am definitely going to look into it. And the others as well. Thanks!

john said...

David, what a great picture of your shoes.
Yeah, the lake looks superior, too.

Mark said...

What an inspirational setting! What is it about being near water that soothes our souls and inspires our imagination? Of course, that's a sailor talking....

Thanks for the recommended titles; as always with these lists, I discovered new books I might otherwise never have read.

Maggie Falls said...

The Sachar book left me surprised, too. The game of bridge gives me the willies, so it was a pleasant surprise to see how the book was structured and how engrossing it turned out to be. ... You probably don't need to read the other Lightning Thief books, but I recommend The Red Pyramid, if only to compare how Riordan's handling the mythologies. I haven't read the Stork book, so thanks for that recommendation. I though Marcelo was the best book last year, so I'm curious to read this one.