Book Recommendations from a Simmons Weekend

And now, a listy post!

In no particular order... YA fiction, except where specified...

Books that have been added to my TBR pile thanks to the Simmons Summer Institute this past weekend (in most cases, after hearing the author speak):
  • Lessons from a Dead Girl, by Jo Knowles, a sister alum of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature. I've been meaning to read this for ages, am halfway through, and am loving it.
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi. A bit embarrassed never to have read this one.
  • A Hole in My Life, by Jack Gantos (memoir).
  • Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett (middle grade art heist mystery), with illustrations by Brett Helquist.
  • Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork.
  • Beowulf, a graphic novel by Gareth Hinds, who also has a graphic novel version of The Odyssey coming out that I'm psyched about.
  • Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, Schools, and Other Scary Things, by Lenore Look, pictures by LeUyen Pham (middle grade).
  • Black Stars in a White Night Sky, by JonArno Lawson, pictures by Sherwin Tjia (poetry).
  • Darkness over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews and A Fence Away from Freedom: Japanese Americans and World War II, by Ellen Levine (both nonfiction).
  • Mistik Lake, by Martha Brooks.
  • Olive's Ocean, by Kevin Henkes.
  • A Wreath for Emmett Till, by Marilyn Nelson (poetry).
These authors have plenty of other books that are also a good bet -- I'm just listing the titles that stood out the most for me.

Books from the Institute that I already knew and loved even before hearing their authors speak:
  • Feed, by M.T. Anderson.
  • Me, All Alone, at the End of the World, by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (one of my all-time favorite picture books).
  • The Octavian Nothing books, by M.T. Anderson. (Are you sensing a theme?)
  • Nothing but the Truth, by Avi.
Books not relating to the speakers, but that trustworthy Institute attendees recommended highly:
  • Heart of a Shepherd, by Rosanne Parry.
  • Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream, by Tanya Lee Stone and Margaret A. Weitekamp (nonfiction).
  • Young Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle, by Ruth Ashby and Suzanne Duranceau (biography, I think?).
  • Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, by Brian Floca (nonfiction picture book).
Super books I've read lately that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Institute:
  • In This House of Brede, by Rumer Godden (adult fiction).
  • When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead (middle grade).
  • Finnikin of the Rock, a fantasy by Melina Marchetta, out already in Australia/UK, coming soon to Canada/USA.
Too listy, I know -- but wanted to get the many titles out there for people to take and run with.

In other news, Graceling is a finalist for the inaugural Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award (an ALAN/NCTE award) along with After Tupac and D Foster (Jacqueline Woodson); The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman); Me, The Missing, and the Dead (Jenny Valentine); and My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park (Steve Kluger). More info about this new award is here. Thank you to the generous Award Committee!

My favorite object of the day is the muffin I'm about to eat, and since I'm practically typing this post from a prostrate position on the floor, I won't be taking a picture of it. I am BEAT. The speech went well -- thanks to everyone for your encouragement. It was a fabulous conference... and one of these days I'm going to post more about my Simmons experience.

Feel free to leave your own book recs in the comments!


Rocy said…

I read Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett two years ago, but in Spanish! It has a good story.

Well, I like Harry Potter books, by J. K. Rowling. Eragon, by Christopher Paolini. Ranger Apprentice, by John Flanagan. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. The Valley of the Wolves, by Laura Gallego. The Legend of the Wandering King, by Laura Gallego.

There are more books, but they aren't in English. Although, I will write them (with an own translation)

Memorias de Idhún, by Laura Gallego. (Memories of Idhun)
Donde esté mi corazon, by Jordi Sierra i Fabra (Where my heart is)
Hijos del dragón, by Lucía Glez. Lavado (Dragon's children)
Natasha said…
Oooh oooh - a list! Of books! I love lists, especially of books. Thank you.

I was thrilled to see Kevin Henkes. His picture book, "Kitten's First Full Moon" is utterly delightful and one of my all time favorite books to read to my young son. The pictures are beautiful, and the story sweet and funny. He's a great author.

Glad all went so well at Simmons. Can't wait to hear more!

Enjoy your muffin!
Anonymous said…
Oh, Charlotte Doyle is one of my favorite books ever! It totally made me want to be a 19th century sailor when I grew up, which is a goal that definitely has its problems, but oh well. I just read Marcelo in the Real World last week-- it's very sweet, and occasionally quite funny (at least it was if you knew my brother, and, um, me too a bit). I really enjoyed Chasing Vermeer when I read it, too. Have fun!

And I'm dying to read When You Reach Me from what I hear about it. I have never been so excited to read a book by an author I've never read anything else by before!

I don't think it likely I have any recs you haven't already heard of yourself. In my own I-can't-believe-I-haven't-read-this-before, I recently discovered (and am crazy for) Diana Wynne Jones. I'm finally finishing up Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. As for new books I've really liked, besides Marcelo, hmm, Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan is a really interesting debut, I forsee good things for her. That's all I can think of offhand.
tinkandalissa said…
Congrats, once again, on the nom! The Graveyard Book is fantastic! Just read that one not too long ago. I have a book currently has a little over 300 bks on it. Yikes!
after u read chasing vermeer which is awesome btw, u gotta read the wright three n then the calder game. they're the sequels (in that order) n i abosolutley love em. but still not as good as the first as always.
Anonymous said…
This is why I read author blogs.. You write fab books that I read and become addicted to. (No really.. It's bad.) Then you list books that are good and yummy! Gah!

My 'theory' on this is that, surely if you write well, you read well. Clearly you do. Charlotte Doyle is an example, as it's the only one I've also read. Been meaning to read the Octavian Nothing books. So yay!

Also, I totally rec'd your books the other day. :)
rbaugher3 said…
I'm like Rocy. I enjoy the Harry Potter books, and The inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini.

I also like the Heir trilogy by Cinda Williams Chima, and the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

For more adult supernatural fiction, there's also the Shifters series by Rachel Vincent.

Enjoy the muffin and congratulations to you Kristin.
Lili said…
Just my inner commentary on some of the titles:

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - One of my favorites since 3rd grade (I don't even know HOW I got my hands on it that young, it's a bit violent).

Marcelo in the Real World I read a couple months ago. I think books with a cross between kids in special ed, etc. and "the real world" are just too interesting and painful.

Olive's Ocean I "OMG!"-ed in my head. I was just thinking about this book yesterday.

Young Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle Yeeees! Sea voyages plus biology? Win. (Can I act anymore like a fifteen-year-old? It's embarassing.)

You heard M. T. Anderson speak?! I'm so jealous ;D

I'm glad you enjoyed the conference!
Mel said…
I've read the first Octavian Nothing book, it was very different and interesting! :) Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to reading the other book(s?), due to an extensive reading list and ridiculous amounts of homework and lots of other miscellaneous distractions.

What would I recommend? If I were anywhere else, I would say Graceling...but as I'm not...
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (this should probably be an adult book, but, shockingly, it's not. At was in my high school library.)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte? Bronte (as one who isn't really a huge fan of many classics, I really enjoyed this one).
Robin McKinley, Libba Bray, and Tamora Pierce books in general :)
Oh and of course The Book Thief by Markus Zusack, and Lovely Bones (I forget the author).
Rose said…
I'd love to read some of those books you listed! Got to finish Gone with the Wind again though (second time through)before I can. I absolutely love Rhett Butler, but does Scarlet have to be so *grr* ?

A book I'd recommend is a book I bought the same time I got yours. It's another authors debut novel I guess, Carrie Ryans' The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Basically the best zombie novel I've ever stuck my nose in, and one that really makes you think about the important things in life.

Like Graceling, I picked it up in the morning and didn't put it down until late that night. <3 There's my suggestion.
JillinPC said…
I just want to say I love Graceling and have recommended it to everyone. Other than that, I just finished "Looking for Alaska" by John Green. Wonderfully written and heartbreaking. I just bought his other novel "Paper Towns" but haven't started it yet. I am in the middle of "Oh.My.Gods." by Tera Lynn Childs. I like her spin on Greek Mythology.
Can't wait for "Fire"!
Unknown said…
I concur with the Forest of Hands and Teeth recommendation, but I'm completely in love with Justine Larbalestier's Liar. There's all kinds of controversy about the cover that is, unfortunately, overshadowing the outstandingness of the book. I've never read anything like it.

Find a copy. Read it.
Anonymous said…
I'm currently working through Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, which I've never read despite the fact that I've known since it was published that it's my kind of book. I'm experiencing lots of weird synchronicities because it's set in an around a fictional version of Boston, but the passage I read today was like an emotional bomb going off. Wow.
Jo Knowles said…
It was so great to meet you, Kristin! Your speech made me cry (before you cried!) :-)

Hope we cross paths again soon!

Jen said…
I just finished If I Stay by Gayle Forman... so beautiful and haunting, and I'm still thinking about it a week later!
These two YA titles are must-reads:

GAMER GIRL by Mari Mancusi

PRINCESS BEN by Catherine Murdock
Unknown said…
It was good to see you, even if it was very briefly. I'm very flattered that you bought my book and asked me to sign it! I tried to get you to sign my Graceling but I couldn't find you.
Keep up the good work,
Francisco Stork
I've been wanting to read 'Lessons from a Dead Girl' for some time now. So its pretty good?
Charlotte Doyle was my favorite book in sixth grade. One of the few books the teachers made us read that I enjoyed.

I just got back from ALA, so my head is spinning with book recomendations, but I recently read and loved Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I also got to sit next to Melina Marchetta and she talked about Finnikin-I'm looking forward to reading it!
CL said…
I loved The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. Also looking forward to reading Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.
Artemis Grey said…
Congrats on the nom! :)

The only truly great book I've read recently is one that I shall not speak of, for it has not yet been released. I will say only one thing in regards to it:

I ♥ monsters. One in particular, very much indeed.
CLM said…
Congratulations! I am very pleased to see that someone else remembers Amelia Elizabeth Walden, as I was a big fan of her books growing up. They are very dated now and at times seem sexist because while her message is ostensibly that young women can do anything, her male characters often belittle them and say that until they learn how to be womenly women they cannot truly be successful/know themselves/succeed, etc. Despite this, which annoyed me even as a teen, I liked her books a lot. She wrote several different genres within a YA context: spy novels, sport themes (of these my favorite is My Sister Mike), drama theme (I enjoyed a trilogy about a young woman named Miranda, although the man she ends up with was one of the most condescending creatures ever and was her director/producer), and a few general (Waverly, about a girl who leaves her beloved family ranch to attend the all women's colleger her deceased mother had loved so much). I will be interested to find out more about whose idea it was to honor this author. As I recall, she was either a sportswriter or a high school coach, and her characters enjoyed sports long before Title IX.
Kelly H-Y said…
I love lists ... so, thank you!!!
Enjoy that muffin! :-)
Anonymous said…
Read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater! It is one of the best romances I have ever read!
But don;t think it's just romance because it's more than just that.;)
Congrats for Graceling!!!
Kristin Cashore said…
I've been dying to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and will as soon as I get my hands on a copy. Same with Liar, Laura -- Sarah Miller's excerpt of JL's post broke my heart the other day. A couple other titles I'm dying to read: Tender Morsels (Lanagan) and The True Meaning of Smekday (Rex).

Jo, it was so great to meet you, too! Jo, I'm still loving Lessons (am almost done), and I must say, I knew that part of my speech might make me cry, but it never occurred to me that I'd be speaking for so many others in the audience as well. I feel so lucky to have been able to express our love and appreciation for Cathie, Susan, and Simmons!

Francisco, I heard that you were looking for me -- sorry I disappeared! You know, we have a mutual connection, so I have a feeling we'll cross paths again some day :). It was lovely to meet you and hear you speak!

Artemis: :o)

Thanks to everybody for the recs and commentary! I've also heard great things about Shiver. And CLM, thanks for that -- I know nothing about her, but I admit that now I'm wondering if a couple books I read when I was younger could have been by her. One was about a tennis champ and another about a girl at a fancy boarding school who rode horses. If only I could remember the titles!
Faith said…
Kristin - loved Graceling and am so looking forward to reading Fire. Loved Percy Jackson and the Olympians - 5 book series by Rick Riordan. Just finished reading the Septimus Heap Series by Angie Sage great read.
Anonymous said…
A must read if you LOVED Graceling as I did, is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins! Two of best books I've ever read! Thank you for the gift of your writing Kristin.
Heather M.
J.L. Hart said…
Yay, book lists! I love, love book lists, especially yours because I've found that I really like/love the books you recommend. This also helps keep me patient for Fire, Catching Fire, and The Gathering Storm, book 12 of the Wheel of Time series.

For those waiting for Catching Fire... the UK publisher's website has the first chapter up available to read!!!!!!!!!

Loredan Avery said…
Congrats Kristin, enjoy your muffin! And thanks for the book list, I can't wait to get started
Julia B. said…
Did you know you have a Brazilian fan?

I moved to Canada last year and found Graceling in one of my trips to the bookstore. It was the first book I bought in Canada, and it really helped me improve my English. So I guess I can thank you for getting a high B in English 9. (:

Also, I would like to say that I really loved the book. It's just so good, I can't wait to read Fire! (and Bitterblue, of course)

Bye \o
Anonymous said…
I have my own blog, and it's all about books! So...:

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
Young Wizards Series by Diane Duane
All the books by Tamora Pierce
Gail Carson Levine in general
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George (new!)
Peter and the Starcatchers series
Young Bond Series by Charlie Higson
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
Bread and Roses, too by Katherine Paterson
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

That's all I have for now! Hope some people see this!

RobinPS said…
I agree with the person who recommended Shiver. I just finished it, and rarely does a book make me cry, but this one did. I just FELT it - ever breath of cold, every tentative touch, the heartbreak of loss...oh it was so good! It ended a bit abruptly for my taste, but otherwise a five-star, yummy read.
RobinPS said…
P.S. Congrats on all the awards for Graceling. I've read it three times and love it more each time!
Kristin Cashore said…
Thanks for the continued recs, everyone :o)
rstock said…
This comment has been removed by the author.

Popular posts from this blog

My Books

Contacts, Info, and Credits

On Coping