Please browse here to find books that I think are worth your time.... or are real stinkers. I will let you know what I REALLY think of what I am reading. You might not find the newest and most popular books here, but I would LOVE it if you find something unexpectedly great!

I will indicate on each post the Lexile level of the book.
To find out more about Lexile levels, go HERE.

Use the labels list on the right side of the screen to find a title about something you are interested in. You can also search by Lexile levels.

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Burn Baby Burn

By Meg Medina
Lexile = 680

Burn Baby Burn and I had a rough start. I didn't like it. The language is a bit rough and there are some sexual references... and it is just so... different from my life here in Utah. But this book keeps appearing on BEST OF.... lists, so I thought I had best persevere! Here is the set up:

Nora lives with her Mother and younger brother Hector in New York City. Dad took off when she was little and has little contact. Hector is all kinds of trouble: arson, drugs, violence, you name it. It's almost the summer of 1977 (hence the disco ball on the cover) and there is a serial killer on the loose in the city. Everyone is worried about the killer, but Nora's biggest problems are right in her own home. Even her best friend, Kathleen, doesn't get how hard Nora's life is.

No happy endings here, but once I got in to this book, I really liked Nora, hated her brother, and found myself cheering Nora on. I think good fiction opens new worlds for us. Burn Baby Burn certainly showed me a life and a time that I was unfamiliar with.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Circle

By Dave Eggers
Lexile = ?

Wouldn't it be great if your online social profile, your educational progress, your work, your financial records, and your health information were all in one place and instantly accessible? Imagine just one log-in and one place to get all the information you need. Wait! That almost sounds like the world we live in today. The Circle is about a fictional company that seems all too familiar.

But what about privacy? Yes, we don't want criminals and predators to have absolute online privacy, but do YOU want privacy? Should policemen wear body cameras? So, should we all wear body cameras at all times? When do we cross the line?

The Circle is really a scary book, but not scary like a man chasing you through the dark woods scary. Scary like paranoid. While reading this, I deleted many of the online accounts that I have created. I have also thought a lot about personal and institutional privacy.

Mom note here: A few scenes of a sexual nature are included. I get why.... Under what circumstances should we be granted privacy? That is the big question of this book.

The movie opens in theaters at the end of April. Watch the trailer HERE.

The Poisonwood Bible

By Barbara Kingsolver
Lexile = 960

Imagine that your Father decided that God had "called" your family to Africa. You pack everything that you think you may need to live for a year or so, and off you go. Your family is welcomed to a small, remote village with a great feast. And then Dad angrily calls them all to repentance. Oops.

The Price family arrives in the Belgian Congo in 1959. Things in the Congo are about to change drastically and the white evangelical family from Georgia will be trapped; literally and figuratively. Alternating chapters narrate the point of view of each of the women in the family. The plot moves slowly; I had the feeling of impending doom throughout.

The Poisonwood Bible is intended to be a criticism of Western hubris; a cautionary tale that Africa cannot be subdued and "westernized". Indeed, the paths of the four sisters later in life illustrate the best and the worst of colonialism. So, this summary is likely not convincing you that this is great, fun read!!!! I opened Poisonwood on the recommendation of several reading friends. They said that this is the book that they keep coming back to often to ponder. I would agree.... and isn't that what reading is supposed to do for us?

I read that a movie was in the works, but I think that effort has died. Meanwhile, watch a student produced book trailer HERE.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

TORRES Book Reviews

Tell us what you think! You should include:

Your Name
Title of Book
An interesting paragraph about the book
.... include a brief summary, an explanation of major characters, and your opinion of the book. Don't just say "I liked it" or "I hated it".... explain what in the book made you react the way you did.

Please post your paragraphs as a comment on this blog post (below). You may want to create your post as a google doc first; then paste and post it so it doesn't get lost in the cybersphere!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

HENDRICKS Classic Reviews

Write an interesting paragraph about the first 100 pages of your classic novel. Identify the book and the author. Your paragraph should have a brief plot summary (so far), information about the characters, and your overall impression of the novel. Also include your name.

Write a second paragraph telling if you have decided to continue with this book. Be specific about what you read in the first 100 pages that influenced your decision either way.

Please post your paragraphs as a comment on this blog post (below). You may want to create your post as a google doc first; then paste and post it so it doesn't get lost in the cybersphere!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Latitude Zero

By Diana Renn
Lexile = 680

There are many different types of mysteries out there.... murder mysteries, police dramas, ghosts & hauntings.... and they do overlap. I would call Latitude Zero a "whodunit" mystery, although there is a murder and an amateur detective here. I've also seen this called a "travel mystery". I guess it is that as well. Tessa is an up and coming journalist who actually has her own local television show. She has a boyfriend who WAS a pro bike racer accused of doping and trying to return to his team. Tessa is a bit infatulated with Juan Carlos, a pro-cyclist from Ecuador. When he is killed in a local race, Tessa is determined to find the killer.... if indeed it was a murder. She employs her best Nancy Drew skills to track down clues and avoid the bad guys.

Good read; quick read. If you a fan of cycling, this is a must read.

Watch the book trailer HERE.

JENKS Student Comments

Tell us what you are reading and what you think about it! Click on green "Comment" below.
You might have to scroll to the VERY bottom.....


Your First Name
What hour you have literature class
Title of the book
At least a short paragraph telling about the book AND your opinion on the book.