8.9 Tales of Technology

There have been many improvements in the technological world within the past decade that have forever changed the way we live. Sometimes I get scared thinking about just how much information is available online! And let’s face it: we all know that one person who claims technology will be the death of the human race. If you haven’t recently pondered about technology’s power here are some books that will help you start thinking about its influence.  

8.9 Ready Player OneREADY PLAYER ONE
By Ernest Cline
(2011)

Wade Watts, a poor and orphaned teenager, spends most of his day on a virtual reality game called the OASIS, like the millions of other people on earth. The OASIS’s late creator embedded a puzzle behind for only the most cunning players to solve. The prize? Wealth beyond imagination, and Wade has just found the first clue… In a race against both time and millions of other determined players, Wade is on the adventure of his life.  

 

8.9 Bad BloodBAD BLOOD: LIES AND SECRETS IN A SILICON VALLEY STARTUP 
By John Carreyrou
(2018)

Carreyrou’s journalism skills are on point in covering the slow yet steady implosion of the Theranos company, headed by infamous CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Through performing interviews and meticulous research, Carreyrou presents the catastrophic and unbelievable story of how Holmes misled investors and employees for years about the “miracle” technology that was going to change the face of modern healthcare. You won’t believe this is based on a true story as you read!  

 

8.9 The CircleTHE CIRCLE 
By Dave Eggers
(2013)

This book explores what reality would be like if society took technology that far. Mae gets a job at the Circle, a powerful internet company. The higher she climbs in the company, the more she realizes how little privacy she retains in her personal life. This book features unique yet troubling technology use: politicians live stream their every move, so their viewers can experience their life with them. When Mae starts streaming her life for millions of followers, she must decide how loyal she will be to the Circle. Eggers challenges our thoughts about intrusive technology and leaves the reader hanging on until the end!

 

Funny Book

I love to read books about comedians, comedy’s impact in the world, and books that are just plain funny.  I’ve been known to send many jokes to friends and loved ones because I can’t resist sharing a good laugh with those I love.  There are countless books that contribute to the laughs in the world, and I find them irresistible!  Here are a few favorites that are too good for me to keep them to myself, in a few of my favorite packages:

Comedian Biography

A comedian’s biography will usually overview their life, and can sometimes examine their personal demons as well as their greatest triumphs, as is the case with Dave Itzkoff’s book about Robin Williams called ROBIN.  One of the most popular of this group has to be BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey, which not only talks about the course of her career, but is sprinkled along the way with her (often hilarious) observations.  It’s well worth the read, and the audiobook, narrated by Fey herself, is a winner.  This category also definitely needs to mention Billy Crystal’s STILL FOOLIN' 'EM, the story of his life which has its share of laughs combined with heart, personal loss and redemption, and some absolutely amazing experiences.

Comedy as the Subject

Many books love to talk about comedy as a phenomenon, especially because their stories are usually a roller-coaster-ride of their rise in popularity, bumps along the way, and eventual fall or translation into something new.  SEINFELDIA: HOW A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING CHANGED EVERYTHING by Jennifer Armstrong and AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE by Cary Elwes are excellent examples.  But my personal favorite is probably THE DAILY SHOW: AN ORAL HISTORY AS TOLD BY JON STEWART, THE CORRESPONDENTS, STAFF, AND GUESTS by Chris Smith.  Not only is this the story of a show which singled-handedly created a new genre of humor, but an overview of the major events of America during its time, especially the political landscape and its shifts.  It’s an interesting way to review the events of the past two decades, to be sure.

Comedy as the Content

Lastly, you can just go straight for the jokes.  There are quite a few excellent comedians out there who are willing to package up their trusted material and let the masses experience them without the cost of admission.  Ellen DeGeneres has published a delightful collection of bits in SERIOUSLY... I'M KIDDING, but my favorite comedian-turned-author has to be Jim Gaffigan, whose titles even crack me up: DAD IS FAT, and FOOD: A LOVE STORY being a couple of favorites. These books are best suited to audiobook listening because they are usually performed by the author, and you get the benefit of all their skillful delivery and timing. 

Reading in Sun

With summer in full swing and temperatures rising, the best way to beat the heat is to curl up in your air conditioned room with a good book. These five books are stories about children in summer who go on adventures and face all kinds of mythical and very real problems. Check out any of the following books to stop sweating the heat and be sucked into a summerland tale. 

8.5 The Remarkable Journey of Coyote SunriseTHE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE
By Dan Gemeinhart
(2019)            

Coyote is a twelve-year-old girl who has been living on the road with her father, Rodeo, for the past five years. They travel all around the U.S. in motorhome converted from an old school bus. They drive for adventure, but also to escape the home where her mom and two sisters were lost in a car crash. But when a park is planned to be demolished in their hometown, the park that holds a buried memory box their whole family hid, they must make the trip back to rescue it. Their fun, care-free lifestyle embodies the feel of a summer vacation and makes the book a captivating read. 

 

8.5 The Last Last Day of SummerTHE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER
By Lamar Giles
(2019)            

With the last day of summer bringing that feeling of dread, Otto and Shead, cousins who can’t help their desire to spy and uncover the secrets in their little town in Virginia, mistakenly stop time. While frozen in the last day of summer, they meet strange people and creatures and roll off into the adventure of a lifetime. But having a perpetual summer day isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If they don’t unfreeze time, time could stop for good. 

 

8.5 Where the Watermelons GrowWHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW
By Cindy Baldwin
(2018)            

Della discovers her mother picking black seeds out of a watermelon one summer’s night and can tell something isn’t quite right. Her mother has struggled with mental illness in the past to the point of hospitalization. With her father’s farm in trouble, Della sees that she needs to be the one to help her mama heal before her home falls apart. What does she use as medicine? Her neighbor’s magic honey. It may just heal the heartache in her life. 

 

8.5 Counting to PerfectCOUNTING TO PERFECT
By Suzanne LaFleur
(2018)            

All of Cassie’s problems seem to be because of her sister, Julia, who is the favorite daughter and receives all the attention now that she has a daughter of her own. It seems no one cares about her competitive swim meets and collapsing group of friends. So when Julia tells Cassie that she’s going on a road trip with her daughter and isn’t telling their parents of her plans, Cassie forgoes her summer plans and hops in the car with her sister for a road trip that will change her perspective completely. 

 

8.5 SummerlostSUMMERLOST
By Ally Condie
(2016)            

After the devastating death of her father and brother, Cedar’s family packs up to spend the summer in Iron Creek. While settling into their house, Cedar sees a boy dressed randomly in a costume riding his bike through town. When she follows him, she finds herself at the town’s Summerlost theatre festival. She gets a job in concessions, makes new friends, and discovers the mystery that shrouds the festival and follows her. 

 

Covering the Artists 

Book illustration has always been a great love of mine. As I child, I was always taken in by these drawings, especially in the fairy tales I read. As I got older, and the books I read had less and less pictures, but I was still fascinated by the pictures found on the covers of the books I read. To this day, I definitely have a weakness for “judging a book by its cover.” Part of that weakness is because some of my favorite books had covers illustrated by the same artists who created the picture books I read as a child. In celebration of these books, I have compiled a list of the best illustrators whose work is enjoyed by readers of all ages.  

Kinuko Y. Craft

8.2 Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the BraveBABA YAGA AND VASILISA THE BRAVE
By Marianna Mayer
(1994) 

 

8.2 Winter RoseWINTER ROSE
By Patricia A. McKillip
(1996)

Also known professionally as K.Y. Craft, Kinuko studied fine arts in Ishikawa, Japan. After graduating in 1962, she moved to Chicago, studying and working at local design studios. Her work is heavily influenced by traditional European masters, as well as 19th century Romanticism and Symbolism. In addition to being published in magazines like Time, her work has also been displayed at the The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.  

 

Trina Schart Hyman

8.2 Hershel and the Hannukah GoblinsHERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS
By Eric A. Kimmel
(1989) 

 

8.2 A Hidden MagicA HIDDEN MAGIC
By Vivian Vande Velde
(1985)

One of the most applauded illustrators of her generation, Trina was awarded the Caldecott medal in 1984, the highest achievement for illustration in the U.S. She would go on to win three additional Caldecott awards for her work. Though she would also study at institutes in Boston and Stockholm, she was originally born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sadly, she passed away in 2004, but not without leaving a legacy of revered work.  

 

Leo and Diane Dillon

8.2 The People Could FlyTHE PEOPLE COULD FLY
By Virginia Hamilton
(2004) 

 

8.2 AbhorsenABHORSEN
By Garth Nix
(2003)

This husband and wife have worked together to create award-winning illustrations. Also awarded the Caldecott, they have the distinction of being the only consecutive winners — in 1976 and 1977. Each of their works is a collaboration between their styles. Occasionally, Lee Dillon, their son, a gifted sculptor, painter and craftsman, is also featured in their works.

 

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