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What We’re Reading {September 24 2010}

This week “What We’re Reading” recommendations come to us from our Facebook fans. Several weeks ago we asked our fans to share some of their favorite books with us, recent reads that left them wanting more, books that they consider the best of the best. This list is long and covers many grade levels and genres. Perhaps, like me, you’ll discover some new authors or find a new favorite title!  Be sure to comment and let us know what your must-read titles are!

This I Believe – Based on the National Public Radio series of the same name, This I Believe features eighty essayists—from the famous to the unknown—completing the thought that begins the book’s title. Each piece compels readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs but also the extent to which they share them with others. – appropriate for high school through postsecondary

The Faithful Spy (John Wells Series) by Alex Berenson – John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover. Now, on the orders of Omar Khadri–the malicious mastermind plotting more al Qaeda strikes on America–Wells is coming home. Neither Khadri nor Jennifer Exley, Wells’ superior at Langley, knows quite what to expect. – appropriate for high school through postsecondary

Uglies (Uglies Series #1) by Scott Westerfeld – Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license — for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. – appropriate for middle school and high school

Pretties (Uglies Series #2) by Scott Westerfeld – Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong. Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect; her clothes are awesome; her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted. Or is it? – appropriate for middle school and high school

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women: Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss; Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child; and Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue. A page-turner that brings new resonance to the moral issues involved, this is a story of social awakening as seen from both sides of the American racial divide. – appropriate for high school and postsecondary

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – As a new age dawns in England’s twelfth century, the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral sets the stage for a story of intrigue and power, revenge and betrayal. – appropriate for high school and postsecondary

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is, in turn, beautiful, frightening, and wise.  This book tells the captivating story of Lucy, Peter, Susan, and Edmund who step through the wardrobe into the magical land of Narnia. There, they battle against the evil White Witch and her minions and free Narnia from everlasting winter. The world with its talking creatures is entirely believable, as are the siblings who must overcome their own failings to become the heroes and heroines of Narnia. – appropriate for grades 4 through high school

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensey, the heroes and heroines from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, return in this installment of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series. The four children are transported from an English train station to an island in the world of Narnia. Though Narnia has been at peace since the children left, it is now under the control of Wicked King Mirax. The youngsters, along with Aslan the great lion, must help young Prince Caspian restore Narnia’s glorious past. – appropriate for middle school and high school

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century and a lover in another…In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743. – appropriate for high school and postsecondary

The Camel Club by David Baldacci – It exists at the fringes of Washington, D.C., has no power, and consists solely of four eccentric and downtrodden members whom society has forgotten. Their simple goal is to find the “truth” behind their country’s actions. – appropriate for high school and postsecondary

Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent – Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s, a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver’s life still felt hopeless-until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together. – appropriate for high school and postsecondary

State Fair by Earlene Fowler – Folk art museum curator, rancher, and sometime sleuth Benni Harper returns with a long-awaited new mystery that has her attending the San Celina Mid-State Fair-a place for caramel apples and 4-H calves, colorful quilts and homemade jams, and maybe just a little murder… – appropriate for middle school and high school

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – Everyone in town thinks Meg Murry is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother, Charles Wallace, is dumb. People are also saying that their physicist father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors and an unearthly stranger, the tesseract-touting Mrs Whatsit, Meg and Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin O’Keefe embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. – appropriate for grades 5 through high school

Shaman’s Crossing (Soldier Son Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb – Nevare Burvelle was destined from birth to be a soldier. The second son of a newly anointed nobleman, he must endure the rigors of military training at the elite King’s Cavella Academy—and survive the hatred, cruelty, and derision of his aristocratic classmates—before joining the King of Gernia’s brutal campaign of territorial expansion. The life chosen for him will be fraught with hardship, for he must ultimately face a forest-dwelling folk who will not submit easily to a king’s tyranny. – appropriate for high school and postsecondary

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