My pick for the Short Stories genre was ‘All That Man Is’ By David Szalay.
All of the stories are set in various countries in Europe which made it quite a bit more interesting than I was anticipating.
The short stories made for good holiday reading as I could pick it up and read a story at a time without loosing the thread of the story that I perhaps would have lost reading a standard fiction. I was also surprised at how well you got to know the main characters of each story in such a short time. The only downside was that with a few of the stories I would’ve liked to know more about what happened next instead of being left to guess what happened.
Now, I was really looking forward to my next genre – New Zealand Non-Fiction. This is more the type of book I would usually read. But… the book I chose just didn’t do it for me! I picked out Classroom to Prison Cell by Alison Sutherland because the title sounded like something that would interest me but for me it was quite a bit let down.
The books author has worked in education for a number of years and was interested in finding out what some of the troubled youth in New Zealand that she was working with thought about their school life. While this sounded interesting to me I found it a hard book to read because it was written word for word with what the youth had to say and I found it very disjointed. And if I am being truly honest I didn’t actually finish the book but read about 90% of it.
I have read some amazing New Zealand Non-Fiction but unfortunately this book just didn’t grab me like some of the others have.
My fourth book in the Book Bingo Challenge was a Graphic Novel, and having never been one of those children who got into reading comic books I suspected this was going to be a BIG challenge. I initially chose the smallest, thinnest book on our library shelves that I could find (it was a Marvel comic) but my colleague Shannon (who is a fan of Graphic Novels) was not impressed with my choice and dragged me along to our Graphic Novel shelf and picked out a couple of books she thought might be more to my taste rather than the Marvel comic I had chosen.
Knowing what sort of books I would normally read my colleague really hit the nail on the head with War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay. It was a fictitious account of a young Ugandan boy who was stolen by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) from his boarding school along with 3 of his friends, in the hope of turning the boys into child soldiers. The book depicts the real struggle the boy’s face – do as the LRA soldiers order – or risk at the minimum a beating or worse – death!
Having read true stories of child soldiers this book really rung true, describing the brutality of the superior officers and the dilemma the young boys face in going along with what they’re told to do or stand their moral ground.
The illustrations by Daniel Lafrance were amazing and really added another level to the story for me, capturing the emotions of the children and the harsh conditions they live under, which would otherwise be expressed through the authors words.
Check out Margot’s take on graphic novels as a genre here. If you do happen to be a fan of Marvel graphic novels, you can see our collection here.
The third book in my Book Bingo Challenge was to be a Science Fiction – again, not a genre I was particularly looking forward to – so I ‘kind of’ cheated and chose from the Teen Section. I chose ‘The Maze Runner’ by James Dashner because I had seen the movie a while ago and enjoyed it so figured I would like the book too.
The book begins with Thomas arriving at The Glade in The Box (a dark caged elevator) with no memory other than knowing his name. He’s introduced to life on the Glade by a bunch of other teenage boys who arrived there one every month for the previous two years. Surrounding The Glade is The Maze, a labyrinth of ivy-covered walls that change every night, and evil creatures called ‘Grievers’ which prowl along The Maze at nightfall and which the boys believe needs to be solved so they can leave The Glade.
The day after Thomas’ arrival a girl turns up unconscious in ‘The Box’ and everything in The Glade is about to change!!!
The Maze Runner was fast-paced and action-packed which I enjoyed but it is very different from the movie – not that that is a negative – and one day I might get around to reading the following two books in the series, ‘Scorch Trials’ and ‘Death Cure’.
Book genre two for the Book Bingo reading challenge was a romance novel – something I wasn’t looking forward to. I was going to go with someone like Danielle Steel or Nicholas Sparks, someone well known, but then decided to randomly pick a book from our display stand and that’s how I came to read ‘The Dress’ by Jane Rosen.
I went into reading this book knowing it was probably going to be light and fluffy and that’s exactly what it was but I did find myself kind of enjoying it, especially the first half of the book, by the second half it was getting a little too cheesy for me and typically ended with all the main characters getting their fairy tale ending.
This book follows the lives of nine women touched by the magic of one little black dress. From the young runway model who first modelled the dress to the middle-aged assistant who’d secretly been in love with her boss for many years and who is now recently widowed. This book is rich with characters from all walks of life.
The Dress by Jane Rosen is available from Thames Library. You can reserve it for $1 via our online catalogue here. You might also be interested in The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis.
My first book in the Book Bingo Challenge called for a fiction written by a New Zealand author. I’ve read, albeit years ago, ‘The Bone People’ by Keri Hulme and the odd Alan Duff book etc but books written by New Zealand authors aren’t usually something I’d go for. I initially had intended to read ‘Whale Rider’ but this was already on loan to a borrower, so I settled for ‘Whanau’ by Witi Ihimaera instead – to be honest, what really cinched it was the book is only 174 pages long!
Once I got over having to read a fiction book, pae kare! I actually started to enjoy ‘Whanau’ a story based on the Whanau A Kai of Waituhi village. It tells the tale of the many characters living in the village and their relationship to it.
Some of the younger members of the whanau want to leave it to head to the bright lights of the city and others feel a connection to their whenua. But when 8 year old Pene goes missing with the Kaumatua of the village, his Nanny Paora, the whole village unites in the search for the pair.
Whanau by Witi Ihimaera is available from Thames Library. You can place it on reserve here.
Rochelle is one of the friendly faces behind the counter at Thames Library.
I have decided to take on the Book Bingo Reading Challenge. Why??? Because I’m one of those people who tend to stick to a particular genre. For me its mainly Biographies and Non Fiction, though in saying that I have read the odd fiction which I have enjoyed – some of my favourites being The Song of Ice and Fire series (more commonly known as the Game of Thrones) and The Pearl That Broke Its Shell. And being on the front desk I am often asked for recommendations and unless you like books on drug addiction, the Jewish Holocaust or the Rwandan massacres, I’m often not much help!
I am tackling my Bingo Board in sequence otherwise I know I will leave certain genres to last. I’m guessing I’m going to struggle through reading a Science Fiction and Fantasy (and if I’m honest, Romance, Western and Dystopia) book so if you have any recommendations with any of these genres feel free to let me know – as long as they’re not those door-stop sized books or I’ll never finish this challenge!!!
So if you’re keen to take on the Book Bingo Challenge along with Nicole, Shannon (yes it’s in print now so you have to do it) and I, come on in and we can print you a copy of the Book Bingo board and get you started. And I’ll keep you up to date with what I’m reading and give you a review of each book I read for each genre.