Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Two Books to Add to Your Reading Pile

Not sure why this cover is printing so small -- it in no way reflects my enthusiasm for Joni Sensel's latest book. I have to confess to being jealous -- I mean, don't you wish you'd come up with the idea to write a book about someone who hears numbers?! On top of that, she's set him in a fascinating period of history and given him an ally who is virtually his polar opposite. But chemistry between the main character, Aidan (a monk-in-training), and Lana, (who is not only the illegimate daughter of Lord Donagh but may also be a witch) and circumstances (including a bloody Viking invasion) work to bring these two together. I so admired the way Joni (pronounced "johnny") wove in historical details without stopping to explain them. My only quibble is that this book moves along so quickly I didn't get to spend as much time with Aidan and Lana as I would've liked.

I'd barely closed the cover on The Humming of Numbers when I picked up Neal Shusterman's Unwind. I had read his earlier book, The Schwa was Here, and was completely drawn in by the voice and the inventive storytelling. When I was in Ronan, Montana this past fall, the librarian there was raving about Unwind, the premise of which is that once kids reach 13, their folks can have them "unwound," which basically means their bodies are kept technically alive so their parts can be "harvested" and put to use elsewhere. I briefly met Neal at NCTE in San Antonio in November and I have to say he seems way too nice to be writing such creepy stories. But there you have it. All I can say is I nearly broke several valuable body parts when I was reading last night on the treadmill -- the treadmill stopped but I, completely engrossed in the story, didn't. I literally have read this every spare minute I've had in the past two days. At one point -- and if you've read the book, I bet you can guess which chapter this is -- I had to set the book down and walk away. It was that intense. As I mentioned in my GoodReads review, what I most admire about this book is that it's gripping and fast-paced while tackling a gritty subject without preachiness.

After these two intense, graphic stories, I am ready for a softer, gentler read. Recommendations?


  1. I loved Humming of Numbers, too, and am sticking Unwind on my library hold list.

    Maybe you need a dose of the Penderwicks? Or Pollyanna or something?

  2. Chances are good that you've already read it, but Marley and Me is much softer than the sound of your recent reads. Have a tissue handy for the end of the book.

    And, a fun, "brain-free" read is Stuff White People Like. Really funny -- and pretty accurate. :-)