What is the What by Dave Eggers
This is the story of Valentino Achak Deng. Although his story is true, the book has been placed into the fiction/novel category because there were so many things that Valentino was not able to accurately recount so many years after they had happened. The story begins in pre-war Sudan when Valentino is a boy and takes us through his survival through the war up to his early twenties as a young man chosen for resettlement in America. This is a great read and I found myself choking up numerous times as Valentino reflects on the life he once lived and lost, the hypocrisies of America and how living in America, in some ways, is much harder then living in war-torn Sudan. More importantly, all proceeds from this book go to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation to help the Sudanese in America and in Sudan.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Although this is a young adult novel I thought it was extremely entertaining and would recommend it for anyone. This is the story of a young boy, Junior, who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior decides on his own to attend an all white high school 20 miles off his reservation. Not only does Junior have to deal with all the normal woes of adolescence, but he also has to deal with trying to find his place in two vastly different societies and cultures. To add to the charm of this book Junior is a cartoonist and the book is full of his reflective illustrations about the situations and events he experiences. This book is extremely honest and heartfelt and can make you laugh and cry all at the same time.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is the story of Melinda, a young girl who has been ostracized by her entire high school for summoning the police to an end-of-the-summer party. What the students in her high school don't realize is why Melinda called the police. Feeling that she has no one to confide in and to share her secret with, Melinda slowly withdraws into her own world until she hardly speaks to anyone. As time passes, Melinda finds solace in her artwork and comes to terms with what happened to her at that party and is finally ready to speak about that night.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
I read this to see what the fuss was all about. I don't know what the fuss is all about. It definitely does not even deserve half the hype it's getting as a book or as a movie (unless they make the movie a heck of a lot interesting). The plot is mundane and predictable, a man reads characters out of books and the characters he accidentally reads out of the book are greedy villains who are after the man and his daughter and the man and his daughter have to flee the villains but get caught and then have to escape and then get caught and then have to escape and at some point the young girl learns she has the same ability as her father and the villain then tries to get her to read his evil friend out of the book but then the man has to save the daughter and so on and so on. It was 544 pages of predictable plot and way too much description. I recommend reading it if you have a student or kid reading it...just because it is always good to be able to discuss books with them, but overall, I wouldn't spend my precious time reading it again.