Monday, June 13, 2011

Keesha's House by Helen Frost

Imagine living in a safe place where you would have a chance to dream and then have the freedom to act in order to acheive these dreams. Many of us take this kind of place for granted. Keesha's House opened my eyes to the real hardships that many teens face in their lives. For many, it is a game of survival. A fight for the impact of doing the right thing and confusion on what that is.
Helen Frost did an amazing job in writing this book completely in sestina and sonnet poetic form. Her characters came through vividly as well as details surrounding Keesha's house where she stayed & many who knew this house as hers. Yet it was Joe's house, he, who had bought it to survive himself and then had a golden heart to help teens that were as misfortunate as he had once been. Doing what he thought best by giving them an address and a way out of their unfortunate circumstances. It's hard to believe how something as simple as an address and a comfortable place to stay can mean the whole world opening up to one misunderstood teen. This book doesn't glorify teen misbehavior but realistically shows, through unforgettable poetry, how life isn't fair for all teens and how many times judgement comes out of reactions instead of communication and interactions with teens to understand their needs.
I had picked up this book because I am interested in writing like this. I read through the poems many times in order to remember and feel how Frost had depicted everything. She is definitely a master in her craft. I would enjoy reading another selection from her in the future. She is definitely an author to watch for. I appreciated her down to earth yet classic style in writing. As well as the fact that this book, the stories of these teens and their parents, have stayed with my thoughts which means it has found a place within my heart.

My Rating: 4 stars
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (April 2, 2003)
*Michael L. Printz Honor Book (Awards)

Other insightful reviews:

Lisa the Nerd

Poetry for Children (has a video clip of Frost sharing one of her poetic works)

The Infinite Booklist

Helen Frost web page (take a look at the book trailers)

In essence this book reminded me of this famous quote:

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read more:
Brainy Quotes

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What Would Google Do?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listen to Jeff regularly on the TWiG (This Week in Google) podcast with Leo Laporte. That is what lead me to read the book.

WWGD? Offered new insights to how Google sees the Internet at large. I was swept up in the ideas of customers and friends and business partners using social media. Businesses today have to embrace and change all prior thinking to evolve and live in this new Internet based economy.

Openness, transparency, full-disclosure. Don't hold back. Start an Internet conversation with someone, a friend, or a business.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The SherlockianThe Sherlockian by Graham Moore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In middle school, I fell in love with Sherlock Holmes stories. In high school, I tried to convert my fellow English class students to Sherlock Holmes by planning several class lessons around the stories. So when I saw this book on the "New Books" shelf at the library, I just had to check it out!
The book is actually two stories in one. The main story is about Harold, a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, or "Sherlockian" who finds himself suddenly involved in the mystery surrounding the death of a fellow Sherlockian, Alex Cale, and a missing diary of Arthur Conan Doyle. Harold attempts to sleuth his way through the mystery as Sherlock Holmes would have.
The second story is about Conan Doyle himself, taking place during the time frame of the missing diary. Arthur also finds himself suddenly wrapped up in a murder mystery involving a possible serial killer in London. He and his best friend Bram Stoker (yes, THE Bram Stoker! I didn't know they were friends?!) set out to solve this mystery, also using the deductive methods Arthur employed in all of his Sherlock Holmes stories, which he personally detests.
If you've ever been a fan of Sherlock Holmes, this book is a very yummy yarn for you.
One favorite moment of the story for me is when Harold has come to an unsatisfying end to his sleuthing, and thinks there is nothing more to find. "Harold found himself pining not for solutions, but for questions. For more. He realized that even after all the stories he'd read, he'd been left completely unprepared for this moment – for the quiet days after the climax when the world ticked onward...What he had not read, he now realized were the moments after the endings." For some reason this part brought to mind the days after some great event. Weddings and funerals are two good examples. After all the emotion, and all the tears, and all the family and friends coming and going, the adrenaline, the memories...You get in your car and drive home and notice the traffic that is still coming and going on the highway, that never stopped even while your world stopped. And there's that hollow disconnect in your heart, and the attempts to reconnect in your brain. Your life seemed to stop with this event, so how did the world not stop with you? Moments after the endings – they're quite confounding.

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