Vacation Reading

July 13, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

You may not be dying to know what I read during vacation, but I’m gonna tell you anyway.

First, some context:
1. I am a high school librarian, so I tend to read children’s and young adult’s literature.
2. My students are all male and the epitome of reluctant readers. English is not their first language.
3. They are interested in horror and scary stuff. Due to cultural sensitivity concerns, I have to read the books before adding to the library collection.

Two Demonata series books by Darren Shan, Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer by Derek Landy, Death Note vol. 2, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The two books by Darren Shan are actually four books (double bound editions, two titles per book) in the Demonata series. I attended a session by Darren Shan at the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature. I decided to try his books, now I’m hooked. The characters are believable, well-developed, and easily relatable. They may not make the best decisions, but that’s what makes them realistic.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Death Bringer is number six in the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. I enjoy this series because it is smartly written, witty, egalitarian, and action packed. I generally tune out during fight scenes in movies and books, but the fight scenes Derek Landy writes are gripping and easy to visualize. I especially like his villains who can be incredibly funny, Vaurien Scapegrace being the king of hilarious villains. Valkyrie Caine is a marvelous, strong female lead character. She is the anti-Bella. She may make some bad boyfriend decisions, but she’s honest with herself about how bad those decisions are. I haven’t finished this volume, yet, mainly because of it’s physical format. It is too big and heavy to travel in my purse, so it is a recliner/bedside only read, which limits the amount of time I have to read it.

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba is the first manga series that I have enjoyed. It is well written and the plot line is interesting. I have only read the first two volumes of the total 13. I’m curious to see where the plot goes from here. Graphic novels, in general, usually put me to sleep. Reading them seems to be more tasking for me than straight text. The few manga titles that I have tried before this were either too complicated with new characters being added each volume or poorly written with characters yelling at each other in non-sensical ways.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness travelled along with me, but technically I didn’t read it on vacation. I have read it before and intended a second read, but my obsession with the Darren Shan books got in the way. The main character of this book is a young boy, so it has been labelled as “young adult fiction” when the truth is that adults can enjoy and appreciate it. It takes on chaos, family dynamics, and death – some serious issues. It is an unpredictable story and told in a very creative way. It has won awards for both the text and the illustrations. This is a highly recommended read, in my opinion.

Travelling via Books

I’ll be taking another three weeks of vacation in August, but we’ll be staying home. My plan is to travel by reading. I’m looking to select a few titles for my book vacation. If you have a specific title you can recommend, please post it in a comment. I’m looking to travel to other countries, cultures, times, or planets via fiction or non-fiction.


One comment

  1. Purchased for my vacation by book: Going Solo by Roald Dahl and Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene. Pulled from my existing collection for this project – Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson and Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.

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