Mini Book Reviews: August

August 29, 2011

I spent most of August grading. Grading, grading, grading. Every time someone asked me what I was doing, the answer was grading. Grading! Then, once grading was done, I spent most of my time on prep for the fall semester. So here we are at the end of August, and I have books to review and no time to review them all in depth. Mini reviews it is!

avoidart        athena

How to Avoid Making Art by Julia Cameron – This one is actually a reread. Cameron explores all the reasons and ways we avoid being creative, accompanied by illustrations/comics. The first time I read it, it shamed me a little bit. This time around, it inspired me. So if you’re someone who sometimes has a hard time committing to doing the things you love, it’s a cute little book to check out.

Graphic Novels: 6/10; Off the Shelf: 8

Athena the Brain (Goddess Girls #1) by Joan Holub – This is a super cute, fast read that does mythological retellings from the goddesses’ points of view. The setting is a middle school, so some of the retellings are super tame. At the same time, they’re pretty loyal to the mythology. Athena still sends olives to the Greeks, she still turns Medusa into a snake-haired woman, her dad is still Zeus, she still sprang out of his forehead, etc. I love the way the Odysseus story is handled: the kids are taking a class and are responsible for moving their particular heroes through the quest. I consider this book more elementary level than middle grade as it is way shorter and less complex than, say, Percy Jackson. Still: super cute.

Support Your Local Library: 29/30


How Not to Spend Your Senior Year by Cameron Dokey – I liked the plotting of this book a lot. Several unexpected twists and turns that I did not see coming. I mean, yes, the romantic stuff was all predictable (so predictable), but the way the plot moved forward was not. My only problem is that the characters are kind of flat and have no real depth, which means I was less engaged in what they did. Everything is very on the surface here, and if the character development were amped up more, the book would have been stellar. As it stands, this book was strictly bathroom reading material. I think it’d make a cool movie, though.

Off the Shelf: 9; YA Reading Challenge: 26

Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee, illustrated by Sam Hart – The King Arthur story in graphic novel form. I found this to be really boring. I mean, Lee and Hart managed to cram just about everything in the book, but I didn’t feel the characters were that well developed. I liked the art for the most part, except I hate the way the faces are drawn. All of this amazing detail on the page, and no real detail for the faces. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t connect to the story.

Support Your Local Library: 30/30; Graphic Novels: 7/10

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