Not Enough Bookshelves: Sunday Salon – YA and Short Stories

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Sunday Salon – YA and Short Stories

I finally finished The Thirteenth Tale. While it did pick up towards the end I still found it quite dull and I never really cared about any of the characters. Which is a shame as I think it could have been wonderful. I’ll try and write a proper review this week.

I’ve returned to YA fiction. I’m reading Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer as part of Becky’s online book group. I’m up to Chapter Four and I am loving it. It’s written in diary format by Miranda a 16 year old school girl. An asteroid hits the moon, knocking it off it’s axis which causes tsunami’s round the world. Pfeffer does a great job of capturing the panic and horror of a disaster.

As I am trying to read the book to the book group schedule, I also started Looking for Alaska by John Green. I’m still in the before part and really loving it. Lots of individual, well drawn characters all searching for something.

Finally I finished How to breathe under water by Julie Orringer. This is the first book of short stories I have read and I adored it. I found Julie Orringer after one of her stories was published in the Washington Post.

She writes so beautifully and I was amazed by how complete each story felt. She deals with growing up and changing and through ordinary situations really captures the pain, envy, fear and joy of that time.

Notes to My sixth grade self, was my favourite, it made a knot form in my stomach it was so powerful, moving and painful to read.

“Do not look at Patricia and Cara as they stick their tongue out at you. ignore Zachary Booth’s explicit hand gesture. Forget you weigh sixty-nine pounds; stop wanting breasts so badly. So what if you wear glasses? So what if your skirt is not Calvin Klein? For this one moment you have no hangnails, no bony knees, and there is a secret between you and Eric Cassio. When the others clear the floor, look him square in the eye and share that secret. The secret is, you know he likes to dance.”

That’s it for this week. I’m off to try and write my Weekly Geeks post about my favourite childhood books.


  1. I had planned to read by the schedule provided by Becky, but I couldn’t stop…lol!


  2. I think you’re the first person I’ve come across who didn’t like The Thirteenth Tale. I adored it so much that I gave a copy to my mom for Mother’s Day. I hope you do post that review; I’d love to hear a different point of view. 🙂


  3. J – I know I think as soon as I finish Looking for Alaska I won’t be able to stop!

    Julie – I know it is so unlike me too I was expecting to love it. I think I’ll have to do a spoiler post to make sense.


  4. Yes, I loved the 13th tale, too. Was not expecting it to be a mystery story, though.


  5. I have not got around reading The Thirteenth Tale. I think I must be the only one left!

    SS 1: Books read/received
    SS 2: Book Shopping


  6. I am sorry you were disappointed in the Thirteenth Tale. It was among my favorites the year I read it. I know a few others who weren’t as enamored with it as I was so you are not alone.

    Julie Orringer’s collection of short stories sounds good. I love it when a story can have such a strong impact on me as Notes to My Sixth Grade Self obviously had on you. I’ll have to keep my eye out for that one.


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