Library » Book Talks on Ms. Moayeri's Personal Reading Challenge Fall 2020 Semester

Book Talks on Ms. Moayeri's Personal Reading Challenge Fall 2020 Semester

I've set a personal challenge for myself to read one book every week this 2020-2021 school year.
Week 1: 23 August 2020: 
Natasha Preston "The Cellar"
A gripping tale of abduction and being held captive for an extended period of time along the lines of Emma Donoghue's "Room" and Lucy Christopher's "Stolen."
Week 2: 30 August 2020: 
Zeyn Joukhadar "The Map of Salt and Stars"
Lyrical story about a Syrian family's journey across the Middle East and Northern Afria to find refuge in Spain paralleled with a 12th century story that mirrors their experience, beautiful and brutal at the same time. 
Week 3: 6 September 2020:
John Boyne "Boy In The Striped Pajamas"
Uniquely innocent account of the Holocaust from the point of view of a nine-year-old boy whose father is a high-up official in Hitler's army and in charge of the concentration camp, Auschwitz, while the boy is quite clueless about the whole thing.
Week 4: 13 September 2020:
Marie Lu "Legend"
First in the Legend series, which is a science fiction series set in a dystopian world in the future where there is a massive divide between the haves and have nots and young people are tested to see if they can be trained to be soldiers defending the "Republic of America."
Week 5: 20 September 2020:
Jasmin Darznik "Song of a Captive Bird"
A work of fiction based on the life of progressive and iconoclastic Iranian poet, Forough Farokhzad, a powerful piece of work that instantly sends you running to Farokhzad's poetry and to learning more about her life.
Week 6: 27 September 2020:
Lemn Sissay: "My Name Is Why"
Renowned poet and author Lemn Sissay's heartwrenching memoir about growing up in the UK's child care system in the late '60s and throughout the '70s and early '80s.
Week 7: 4 October 2020
Woody Allen "Apropos of Nothing"
Autobiography of the award-winning and prolific writer, comic, actor and director, which also addresses his accusations of him molesting his adopted daughter and marrying his girlfriend's adopted daughter.
Week 8: 11 October 2020
Mike Hilleary "On the Record: Music Journalists on Their Lives, Craft and Careers"
Non-fiction collection about the world of music journalists put together from quotes from music journalists. Great insight if you're looking into going into this career.

Week 9: 18 October 2020
Elizabeth Acevedo "Clap When You Land"

This is the third novel in verse from the author of Poet X, wonderful story about sisters with the same dad who didn't know anything about each other, one living in the Dominican Republic, the other living in New York, impossible to put down with minimum words with maximum impact, this is a quick but powerful read.

Week 10: 25 October 2020
Sally Gross and George Musgrave "Can Music Make You Sick?"
The result of four years of research, unpacking the hard truths of being a musician and some recommendations on how to be realistic as well as how to make some genuine change in the structures of the music business. Recommended if you're trying to be a music person, either creating or on the business side. 
Week 11: 1 November 2020
Marie Lu "Prodigy"
The middle book of the science fiction trilogy, "Legend," about a future United States which has lost some states due to floods and has broken apart continues, with just as many thrills and is just as engaging as the first book.
Week 12: 8 November 2020
Annie Proulx "Barkskins"
736 pages of content-rich historical fiction in this novel, particularly about the indigenous people of North America, which is accidentally appropriate for Native American Heritage Month.
If only I could see those leaf- and branch-filled family trees in the back of the book a little more clearly, the multi-generational story would make a lot more sense.
Also, I absolutely butchered the author's name, it's pronounced "proo" not "proolx."
Week 13: 15 November 2020
Nina LaCour "We Are Okay"
The 2018 Michael Printz Award-winner is a super-fast read. It's a beautiful and touching story about loss and loneliness and betrayal and friendship, all happening on the brink of starting college. Like all Printz winners and honors, highly recommend.
Week 14: 22 November 2020
Suzanne Collins "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes"
Book talk in the prequel to "The Hunger Games" focused on President Snow when he was in high school and the time after he graduates, long before he became president of Panem and how he was instrumental in developing The Hunger Games into the spectacle readers know it to be in the later trilogy. Extremely good, better than any of the books in the trilogy, or even all of them combined.
Week 15: 29 November 2020
Mindy McGinnis "Heroine"
Story about a high school athlete who becomes addicted to opioids after a car accident and how she sinks further and further into addiction all the while successfully hiding it from her family, but not as much from her friends, suggest reading the author's note in the back before starting the book, and highly, highly recommend.
Week 16: 6 December 2020
Slash with Anthony Bozza "Slash"
Autobiography of Slash, guitar player for Guns n' Roses, one of the most successful and notorious bands of all time. Like most rock 'n' roll memoirs, very engaging and engrossing, full of drama and addiction, just as you would expect, which makes the 500 pages of this book go by quite quick. 
Week 17: 13 December 2020
Kacen Callender "King and the Dragonflies"
The 2020 winner of National Book Award for Young People's Literature, a beautifully woven story that delicately, but respectfully touches on the very serious issues of death and grief, race and prejudice, homosexuality and acceptance.
Week 18: 20 December 2020
Marie Lu "Champion"
The final book of the Legend trilogy is packed full of combat and intrigue and does have a happy ending, but it doesn't feel like that for a minute.
Week 19: 27 December 2020
Heartbreaking and horrifying coming of age story of friendship, abuse, grief and acceptance, recommended to me by one of our own Lincoln Tigers, and available right now with no waiting on Hoopla Digital.
Week 20: 3 January 2021
Kasie West "By Your Side"
A "Breakfast Club" type of love story where an unlikely duo get locked in the public library together for a weekend and what happens after they are found with a focus on one of the character's anxiety and the other character's life in the foster care system.
Week 21: 10 January 2021
Victoria Aveyard "Red Queen"
The first book in the fantasy series about have-nots with red blood and haves with silver blood and extra-human abilities, which sounds good, but unfortunately it starts predictably and ends ridiculously and is not quite saved by its solid and engaging middle chunk.