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, December 2, 2013

"Ding" there goes round one...

I guess if there is to be a first-round-KO in one of our pairings, it’s best that this happens early -- shame to see a good book go down swinging.  Fortunately, that wasn’t the case in the bout between Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz and The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt.  In truth, what we had here was a welterweight taking on a heavy-hitter, with ‘True Blue’ fighting far above its weight-class.  The former is already a reigning champ (Printz, Stonewall and Pura Belpre awards), an edgy account of friendship, loyalty and emerging sexuality -- all haymakers when it comes to engaging teens facing the same issues.  The latter, on the other hand, might be better suited to shadow boxing, with an allegorical take on questions of legend, legacy and unchecked ambition, and a style that is probably better suited to a pre-teen reader.  If you’ll forgive my hamfisted ode to pugilism, there isn’t a real glass jaw amongst any of the Smackdown contenders, so I am hesitant to consign the ‘Scouts’ to the annals of coulda-been-somebodies.  Our resident Don King wants drama, but perhaps this was less a brawl and more light sparring.

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