Friday, February 29, 2008

The Great Divorce

by C. S. Lewis

I reccommend it to anyone who enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia and enjoys Lewis' writing style. It is a short read, but it is deep in knowledge and leaves you with a lot to think about in terms of the after life (heaven vs. hell).

-- Cory Morgan, Faculty

Tom Crean: Unsung Hero of the Scott and Shackleton Antarctic Expeditions

by Michael Smith

Crean was an Irishman who accompanied Robert Scott on his two attempts to reach the South Pole. Sent back from the final attempt, he wound up discovering the bodies of Scott and his two companions. In 1914, he returned to the South Pole with Sir Ernest Shackleton and survived that epic as well. Calling Crean "tough as a night in jail" is completely understating him. Wow...

--Lynn Evenson, Faculty

Of Human Bondage

by W. Somerset Maugham

I am just starting it, but I recommend it because it is supposed to be one of the great works of early-twentieth century western literature. I do not want to go through my life without having read Maugham's masterpiece.

-- Josh Curnett, Faculty

The Shadow of the Wind

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Set in 1950s Barcelona, Spain, a 10-year old boy discovers a novel whose author is shrouded in mystery and as the boy grows up, he attempts to unravel this mystery. I recommend this novel because I've never read anything quite like it and the story will keep you guessing.

-- Christine Avery, Faculty

The Happiest Toddler on the Block

by Harvey Karp & Paula Spencer

This book provides several ways to communicate with your little "Neanderthal" as they go through the toddler years. I found it especially helpful for narrating what my daughter, who is almost two, is feeling so she knows that I care about her. I would recommend it to any parent who has a toddler.

-- Rebecca Langer, Faculty


by Scott Westerfeld

This fourth book of the Uglies series takes us a few years beyond and a few thousand miles away from Tally's time as an "ugly," a "pretty," and then a "special." As the title suggests, now it's all about "extras" (at least not becoming one). In this story, it doesn't matter if you're pretty, ugly, or something in between. The important thing is that you're famous. Fame is fluid, though, and to stay at the top of the face list, you have to be interesting or "kick" and interesting story to the network. The question is whether being a famous face is worth it.

-- Kristin McKeown, Faculty

Jane Eyre

by Charlotte Bronte

I genuinely like this novel, not only because of the plot line, but because of the way that it was written. The character of Jane Eyre is completely relateable, as a young woman who rises above the multitude of challenges that present themselves in her life. But besides that, the style is intellectual and challenging, which is always good for the growth of the reader.

-- Kirsten M., Senior

From Far Away

by Kyoko Hikawa

This graphic novel has a very interesting story involving two characters, Noriko and Izark, who find their fates intertwined. The author does a good job telling the story and the art is excellent, too.

-- Hsuan W., Junior

Buddha in your Backpack: Everyday Buddhism for Teens

by Franz Metcalf

A concise and user-friendly guide to basic Buddhist principles. Metcalf doesn't get too bogged down in the heavy theology, but instead gives practial examples of how these principals can apply to someone's everyday life.

--Joe Geisendorfer, Faculty

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci (Series)

by Diana Wynne Jones

I've read a great deal of Mrs. Jones' work, but the imagination, high fantasy, and originality involved in this series puts The Chronicles of Chrestomanci at the top of my favorites list. I've never read a fantasy novel quite like these.

-- Aimee W., Senior

A Lesson Before Dying

by Earnest J. Gaines

This book is about a young black man who was accused of a murder he did not commit and was put on death row. Because he was black, people viewed him as a beast, dehumanizing him. He gained many friends who wished he could die as a man and not an animal. It was very sad and stirred my emotions. I liked it a lot and reading about the segregation during that time added to the novel.

-- Anna F., Senior

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

by Daniel Pink

This very readable nonfiction book describes how we are moving from the information age to the conceptual age, and that it is the right-brainers and their gift of creativity that will be the focus of the future. MBA's will be less valuable than MFA's, and thoughtful design will take the lead in this ever-increasingly consumer driven culture. Whether you're a right-brainer or a left-brainer, Pink provides insight into how everyone can nurture their creativity.

-- Kristin McKeown, Faculty

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam

by Cynthia Kadohata

Much has been written about the Vietnam War, both fiction and nonfiction. Never before, though, has this period in American history been told from a dog's point of view. The reader follows a German Shepard dog from his first home in a Chicago apartment to his later success as one of the best canine operatives in the military in Vietnam.

-- Kristin McKeown, Faculty