Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Goodbye (for now) Post

Well, friends of the Book Pile, Auntie Karen has decided to take a sabbatical (with an option to retire). This decision wasn't an easy one, but it feels right.  (Thanks to those who took my poll last week and helped me come to this decision.)

Perhaps the Book Pile, in electronic form anyway, since the physical pile of books never seems to get any smaller here in my rooms, will be back. For now, it will remain in cyberspace with approximately 120 books on the pile.

The Book Pile's fate remains uncertain in some ways, while in others, given this post, the results of my recent poll seem clear. Hark! What's that I hear? Some groans and wishes that I were to remain true to the goal of bringing the joy of children's books to the world? Ah, yes. I hear your pleas, and yet, I cannot fulfill those desires. Not now. My current countenance is in disarray - I've so much to do, my toil is a heavy load, and I fear that my strength and energy may give way. (Also, I've been reading nineteenth-century novels and am in love with them, can you tell?)

Anyway. Many thanks to those of you who have visited the Book Pile over the past nine months. It has been a pleasurable pursuit and experience and I shall miss it (although not too much). 

Farewell (for now)!

Auntie Karen

Monday, February 4, 2013

Guest Review by Sian Gaetano: Midwinterblood

by Marcus Sedgwick
Roaring Brook Press | 2013

Marcus Sedgwick’s newest YA novel revels in the dark, the devious, and the destined. Through a series of seven connected but wholly individual tales, the story travels from the year 2073 into the past of long-ago times unknown.

The work begins with a young man, Eric Seven, taking an investigative trip to Blessed Island, where it is rumored that the inhabitants live forever. Despite this obviously science-fiction beginning, the story moves and changes to incorporate realistic fiction, fantasy, and horror in the seven different tales of Blessed Island. Within this one novel, a reader will find Romeo-and-Juliet-like love, a thirsty vampire, a reenactment of the Cain and Abel tale, magical potions, historical connections to WW II, and a tormented artist.

The chapters are short and the writing style simple, creating a read that is both inviting and dangerous—the reader will find herself desperately moving forward while the staccato rhythm of the writing brings to mind the pounding of ancient war drums. The constantly shifting protagonists make it difficult to catch your breath but, as it becomes clear how beautifully and intimately they’re connected, you might be able to regain your footing. This is a story of blood, and beauty; of death and destiny; of fear, and (finally) of love.

Read this book. And make sure you set some time aside for it because, once you start, you will not stop until those drums silence.  

REVIEWER BIO: Si├ón Gaetano is, before all else, a reader. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Children’s Literature at Simmons College (to be finished in  Summer 2013) and working evenings serving the good people of Boston food and beverage. She was an editorial intern at Charlesbridge for the Fall 2012 semester, and is currently an intern at The Horn Book.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Poll to Assist With Determining the Fate of the Book Pile

Hello, Book Pile visitors: 
I am trying to determine whether to continue with the Book Pile (or not). It's a fair bit of work to make sure three books a week are reviewed here. I can see the stats for visits, and they are good, but not excellent. Hence, I'm soliciting your advice and information about your usage. One lucky responder will win a free book!

Please take a few minutes (it'll only take a few!) to answer my questions on this form.

 Auntie Karen