OK, if you're a child of the 80's (I was still technically a teen for part of it!), then you will like this book. It got mixed reviews from my freshmen boys. The constant pop culture references from the 80's had me laughing out loud and trying to guess what was going to pop up next. The post-apocalyptic future with a severe division between the "haves" and the "have nots" definitely resonates today. Wil Wheaton does an exceptional job with the audiobook--especially "tongue in cheek" when he is talking about references to Star Trek. I will definitely listen to this one again--probably on my way to Toronto with my own kids this year.
Another Audible download that I absolutely LIVED with back and forth to school for a month. As described on Follett's website, the novel "follow(s) the destinies of five interrelated families – one American, one Russian, one German, one English and one Welsh – through the earth-shaking events of the First World War and the Russian Revolution." I couldn't wait to get in the car every day and find out what was going to happen next! Follett has a style that simply places the reader (or listener!) in the middle of the story--you literally "watch" the action unfold around you! The battle scenes were gripping, the fight for women's suffrage in England was inspiring, the love stories were both romantic and realistic. I'm SO thrilled that this is part of a series!!
If you read Fall of Giants, you must read the sequel Winter of the World. There's not a lot to add to the description of the first book below, except the setting this time is World War II instead of World War I, and the story involves the next generation of characters from the first book. Follett is just an exceptional historian, and you cannot read these books without learning things about history that you didn't know before. I was especially intrigued with the view of WWII from Russia's viewpoint, as that is not something that we cover extensively in my history classes. I'll be waiting for the next installment in another year or two.
I didn't realize how much Joe, the narrator of The Round House, had gotten into my head until I finished the book and started reading the afterward by the author Louise Erdrich, but I was still reading it with Joe's voice (and I did READ this one--no Audible this time). It didn't dawn on me that the author who was speaking was a female until she talked about her fight against breast cancer. So, having introduced the book in this fashion, I will say that Erdrich got the teen "voice" exactly right. Having grown up with a reservation just north of my town, I was really interested in hearing the Native POV. I could not stop reading this book. It does not start happily. It does not end happily. But through the text, you feel that Joe will one day be ok. It's the journey that will keep you reading.
As a history teacher, I felt like a complete failure after reading this book. Even though I teach a (brief and concentrating a lot on the Holocaust) unit on WWII, I knew NOTHING about the bombing of Dresden. This book is Vonnegut's attempt at working through this tragedy many years after the war. He creates a character, Billy Pilgrim, who was in his company and experienced the same things Vonnegut did (along with being able to time travel within his own life span AND getting abducted by aliens, but I digress). It's a tough read, as satires go, but what I loved was that it forced me to research the Dresden firebombing and decide that I will definitely include information on this in my history class this year. I suggest reading one classic a year--it's good for your intellectual health.
I finished this book the last day of school--it was the first thing I did when I got home for the summer. Basic premise--two cancer kids fall in love. You know things are not going to end well. But Hazel Grace and Gus take us along for a sweet ride before the final curtain. Another author who got the teen voice exactly right. Knowing what was probably coming, there were days I just had to close this book and let it sit for a while, because I just didn't want to have to go where I knew Green was ultimately leading me. After you've read the book, you MUST see the movie (with many tissues in tow). They also got the casting exactly right (I know John Green doesn't have anything to do this, but I like to think he was pulling for this cast!)
I just literally shut the cover on this one, and wow. I chose this for book club based on the fact that it was set in Wisconsin, but I had no idea it would hit so close to home. I felt like I was reading about my family or my friends or my students. I feel like I could have written this book, since "they" always tell you to write what you know. I know this book. The narrator is the youngest sister, Kirsten, in an incredibly typical farm family living in Wisconsin in the 1990s. When her brother's girlfriend goes missing, everything slowly starts to unwravel for this family. As I read, I felt like I knew that kitchen and that barn, and those wrestling matches and those high school romances. I did NOT see the ending coming. Can an ending feel good and tragic at the same time? Yes, it can.
The Circle is a high-tech company (think Youtube or Google or Microsoft) which has been taking the world by storm when 20-something Mae Holland lands a job with the help of her college friend Annie. As Mae becomes more involved with the Circle and its ever-encroaching interest in helping the world become Transparent, she will have very difficult questions to answer: How much is Mae willing to give up to stay in the Circle? How much privacy are we entitled to? How prevalent has (or should) social media become? In the end, this was not a protagonist I was rooting for. **Warning--adult language and themes.**
GREAT book about twin brothers Marion and Shiva Stone growing up in Ethiopia. Even though they lose both parents on the day of their birth, they are raised by loving foster parents whose influences lead them each into the world of medicine. The audio version of this book is flawlessly narrated, and the voice of the narrator is still in my head as I write this. There were parts of the book which made me laugh out loud or gasp in shock, and the climax was abrupt, unforseen and tragic. Worth every minute!