Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Monday, May 28, 2012

I just finished my last Smackdown book this weekend, and while all three had their merits, I was easily able to take A Tale Dark and Grimm out of contention.  For me, it read quite young.  The second person narrative voice in between stories became annoying quickly, and I found myself skipping over them so I could get on with Hansel and Gretal's adventures.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, don't tell me that it's going to get scary; let the monster come on stage and roar.

Then it was between Okay for Now and A Monster Calls.  Having read Okay last round, I was quite set on championing it to the finish.  I really enjoyed reading this story, even with the feel good happy ending bits like the remorseful father, kicking cancer girlfriend, and accepting Vietnam vet brother.

And then I read Monster, and had to concede to the stronger story.  Visually appealing, well written, and metaphorical to boot.  I have since shared it with a few of my colleagues, because it was such a touching story. I think I even shed a tear at the end.  But just a small one, and very quickly, so no one  could see.  I enjoy teaching a number of texts that involve nasty things happening to young children ("A Modest Proposal", "Celebration", Popular Mechanics", Tsotsi), so when a story really captures me, I can only bow down to the talents of the author and be grateful I had the opportunity to share his/her world for awhile.

So I am plugging for A Monster Calls, and fingers crossed it makes the final cut!


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