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The Week in Review: 08.24.2018

August 24, 2018
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Between the Covers

Finished last week:

What a powerful book PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE by Ellen Hopkins is.  Narrated by the Voice of Violence and often told in the second person, this book tracks several teens in Tucson, Arizona for one week.  One of them buys a gun from the classified ads with cash and before the week’s out another one will be dead because of it.  Cami and Rand are married with a young child – he hopes to become a cop while she’s involved in a little illegal activity trying to get their little family ahead.  Grace has witnessed violence firsthand and Noelle’s life was changed forever by that same violence.  Silas and Ashlyn are white supremacist looking to stir up trouble.  When Daniel’s mother was deported, he was taken in by his father’s family – after his father’s death, he’s out on the streets on his own.

This book is written in a hybrid style – part verse and part narrative – and is told from multiple points of view.  It tackles several social issues without feeling preachy or overdone.  I was hooked from the start and gobbled this book very quickly.  I’ve thought a lot about it and think it would be great in a high school classroom or as a book club pick.  If you like to read about social issues, you don’t want to miss this book.  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)


I picked up MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM by Anne Youngson because I love epistolary novels.  Tina Hopgood writes a letter to Professor Glob, an archaeologist who’d dedicated a book to her and several of her classmates fifty years ago.  The Curator of the museum, Anders Larsen, replies to her letter to let her know that the professor passed away years ago.  From there, the two begin a correspondence that becomes more and more personal.

I’m sorry to say this book didn’t hold the charm that epistolary novels normally do for me.  The letters did become more personal but they never became less formal so I thought it was hard to really get to know the characters.  I also had a little bit of a problem with their “relationship” since Tina was married.  The ending was rather open ended and that bothered me a bit too.  I seem to be in the minority on this one so you should give it a try if it looks interesting to you.  I did like the book enough that I would pick up a sequel if there is one but can’t say that I loved it.  (Review copy provided by Flatiron Books.)


As a kid, I loved books like National Geographic Kids ALMANAC 2019 and, it may surprise no one, I still do.  I read this book from cover to cover and enjoyed learning lots of fun facts and trivia.  With chapters ranging from Amazing Animals to Science and Technology to History Happens this great book has something for everyone.  It even has fun quizzes throughout the book and tips on things like writing letters, exploring different cultures, and giving oral reports as well as some fun experiments.  There’s also an index in the back, making it easy to look up topics of interest.

ALMANAC 2019 is printed on high quality matte paper and includes gorgeous full-color photographs and graphics.  Kids (and some adults) will pick it up over and over again and will refer to it often.  This book needs to be in every home, school, and public library.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


Currently reading:

On the Screen

When Vance and I went to see BlacKkKlansman this week there was only one other person in the theater.  For those not familiar with the movie, it’s based on the true story of Ron Stallworth a black police officer who infiltrated the KKK in Colorado Springs, CO in the late 1970s.    Stallworth made contact with “the organization” via phone and paired with white officer Flip Zimmerman to do the ground work for him.  I’m not sure how much the movie strayed from the facts but, in the end, I don’t think it really matters because this movie will make you think.  Directed by Spike Lee and starring John David Washington and Adam Driver this movie has tension and humor and, while it’s not without faults, I think it’s well worth seeing.

Off the blog

  • I started a 3,000 piece puzzle.  It’s the largest I’ve ever attempted and it was a challenge just to get all the pieces laid out on our table.  I have a feeling I’ll be working on this one a while.
  • We’re getting a little hint of fall with lower temperatures and humidity.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I average just over 15,700 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

21 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2018 7:06 am

    Wow, good luck with the puzzle! I enjoy epistolary novels and hadn’t heard of Meet Me At the Museum. Sorry it didn’t win you over.

  2. Diane permalink
    August 24, 2018 7:30 am

    We are hoping to see Blackklansman today, glad it was good . I saw the rating as 7.9/10 so we decided to see it.

    Hope you have a nice weekend!

  3. Sarah's Book Shelves permalink
    August 24, 2018 7:36 am

    I love Rick Bragg….how is the cookbook?!

  4. August 24, 2018 8:21 am

    I’m adding People Kill People to my list… hadn’t heard about it before. BlacKkKlansman is playing at our local art cinema. Hoping it stays long enough for me to see it. Have a great weekend!

  5. August 24, 2018 8:35 am

    2,000 is the most I’ve ever done, mainly because it would be hard, as you say, to fit more on a table!

  6. August 24, 2018 9:16 am

    BlackKKlansman is a movie we want to see. It’s been recommended to us. Hopefully, we will get to it.

  7. August 24, 2018 10:17 am

    I’m curious about the movie…and the book People Kill People. I usually avoid Ellen Hopkins (after inadvertently reading one of hers as a review book), because I don’t like novels in verse. But a “hybrid” style might work…the message is important enough that I could probably manage it! Thanks for sharing.

  8. August 24, 2018 10:41 am

    I wish you luck with that huge puzzle. I think I’d like to see that movie if it comes to my area.

    • August 24, 2018 10:45 am

      I checked my local library for the Bragg book and they had it so I put it on hold.

  9. August 24, 2018 2:20 pm

    I have seen the KLansman trailer a lot lately

  10. August 24, 2018 3:48 pm

    Kathy, it sounds like you’ve had a great week. That puzzle looks intense! Thanks for your honest reviews of the books and movie (I’m a fan of Spike Lee and I’d like to the movie). I took another short blogging break but am back. Enjoy your weekend.

  11. August 24, 2018 4:30 pm

    Are there puzzles larger than this one? You won’t ever have to worry about memory loss!

    We wat to see that movie, too!

  12. August 24, 2018 5:04 pm

    I’ve heard good things about Meet Me at the Museum but I don’t care for the format, myself. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. So many books and every now and then we get one that’s just so so.

    I think I mentioned before how much I like puzzles but I cannot do them anymore without getting a migraine. I am at the stage of vision where I have to take my glasses off to see up close and all that off and on stuff to see a puzzle gives me such a headache. I am just not ready to do bifocals.

  13. Literary Feline permalink
    August 24, 2018 6:36 pm

    People Kill People sounds interesting, especially given who narrates the story. I will have to keep my eye out for that one. Good luck with the puzzle! I hope you enjoy your current reading. I am hoping to sneak in some reading this evening while Mouse is at dance class. Sometimes that is hard to do if there is another dance mom there who wants to chat–not that I mind most of the time, but I really want to finish my book this weekend. Have a great weekend, Kathy!

  14. August 25, 2018 12:35 pm

    I love to read and follow social issues and you have several things here for me to check out. I saw an interview with Spike Lee on Trevor Noah’s show and it really made me want to see the movie. Now it just needs to come to town. I admire your courage to do a 3000 piece puzzle. I’m amazed when I can do a 300-piecer! Have a good week Kathy.

  15. August 26, 2018 9:10 am

    People Kill People seems like a very unusual and worthwhile book. Black Klansman is another film to consider. Thanks for the suggestions.

  16. August 26, 2018 8:07 pm

    Your powers of concentration must be very highly developed, as well as your patience. I can’t imagine tackling such a giant puzzle!

    best… mae at

  17. August 27, 2018 1:52 pm

    Good luck with the puzzle. Looks like you had some great reading and the Almanac looks like one that Katerina would enjoy.

  18. August 29, 2018 12:37 am

    I definitely want to read the Ellen Hopkins book; it looks so good! And I just started reading Black Klansman after seeing the preview for the movie.

  19. bookingmama permalink
    August 30, 2018 9:11 am

    I haven’t reviewed MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM but my thoughts mirror yours. I had higher hopes for this one. It just wasn’t for me.

  20. September 11, 2018 11:23 am

    I always loved the Almanac books as a kid. I remember ordering them through Scholastic and reading them straight through and now as an adult, I still love them and always learn something!

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