This is a list of the books I have read in 2009.
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Breaking Dawn is the culmination to the Twilight Saga and it is, by far, the best of the four books. We finally see some long-anticipated events as well as some highly unexpected developments. I just love who Jacob finally imprints on! In addition, Meyer’s experience is evident. There is a marked contrast between the first and last books. Breaking Dawn is better written and the characters filled out far more than they were in Twilight. I was very sad to reach the end of this book.
This is the first I’ve heard of Margo Lanagan, but I feel it won’t be the last. Black Juice is a collection of short stories of the superb quality I have come to expect from the genre’s Australian authors. I fully enjoyed every single one of the stories included in this book.
Margo’s stories are magnificent, engrossing and above all, thought-provoking. My top three stories in this collection are Singing My Sister Down, Sweet Pippit and The Point Of Roses. All three of these stories are worthy of your attention.
Being a fan of the TV series, I approached this book with great enthusiasm. I’m sorry to say I was sorely disappointed. The concept behind the story is interesting – particularly with regard to the contentious topic of the Hadron Collider. Unfortunately, the author failed to live up to the promise. The writing style was dull, the characters flat, and, frankly, I thought twenty one years was too great a jump. I much prefer the six months presented in the television series.
I’m afraid this is one of those rare occasions when I prefer the drama of the TV series over the written word.
Eclipse is the third book in the Twilight Saga and it is the best so far. The rivalry between Edward and Jacob, and between vampires and werewolves, is explored more fully. The characters fill out more and Meyer’s writing has improved since Twilight. This is definitely worth reading.
Like most people, all I knew about the Bra Boys is what I read about in the papers or saw on TV. My Brother’s Keeper opened my eyes to just how much the Bra Boys in general, and the Abberton brothers in particular, have been misrepresented in the media. Told in their own words, this is a no-holds-barred account of life on the streets and beaches of Maroubra. Sunny, Jai, Koby, Dakota and a few of their friends each give their own point of view on growing up in Maroubra. They each tell key points in their lives from the their earliest memories through to present times, including their side of events that were covered in the media.
Written in an easy to read down-to-earth style that generously treats the reader as a mate, the Abberton brothers tell the good, the bad and the ugly of life as a Bra Boy. They do not try to paint themselves as angels or victims, but simply as ordinary, everyday blokes, doing the best they could to survive the harsh, exacting yet loving embrace of Sydney’s beaches.
New Moon is the second book in the Twilight Saga, and it is just as good as the first. In this novel we get to see a lot more of Jacob Black and Quillute clan. This pleased me, because Jacob is one of my favourites. We also meet the Volturi in this book. Those who have read Twilight will remember that Carlisle spent a bit of time with the Volturi early in his Vampirism, but these guys are as different from Carlisle as bread is from cheese. We don’t see half so much of Edward in this book, which is a shame, but it is a great read nonetheless.
Lost Star of Myth and Time presents the interesting hypothesis that we live in a binary system. Furthermore, it attributes the cycle of ages to our sun’s mystery companion. I find this theory interesting and wouldn’t mind reading a bit more about it. This book is a bit repetitive, so I found it easier to read other books, coming back and reading bits of this in between. Despite this, there are certainly some interesting historical tit-bits and interesting takes on local folklore. Perhaps a book to flip through rather than reading cover-to-cover.
Haunted Animals is an interesting collection of true animal ghost stories. Some are about beloved pets continuing to protect us after they die. Others are about revenge for being mis-treated. All are interesting to read. The stories in this book are easy to read and none of them are overly scary, making this a great book for tweens who are just starting out in chapter books.
What’s Happening to our Girls? is an interesting and informed study of today’s girls and the lives they lead, and it is essential reading for any parent. The facts in this book are very scary. As a mother, I knew before reading this book that my daughters are growing up in a world far different from the one I grew up in. I knew that they are being marketed to. I knew girls are sexually active earlier. I knew that bullying is worse and the forms of bullying changing. I did not know just how bad it has become, or just how ill-informed many girls are as to the hazards of indiscriminate sex and drug-taking. That this is the case is a sad indictment of our society.
We all need to stand up and say NO MORE!!! It is time we put our foot down. Refuse to spend your money on inappropriate items, and write to the manufacturers, expressing your displeasure. Companies are only able to market sex at our girls because we allow them to. Remember, the power is in the hand of the consumer – there have been many products withdrawn due to consumer pressure. Additionally, we should overcome our embarrassment and ensure our girls are informed. Teach them to recognise when they are being marketed to. Give them the confidence and support they need to withstand peer pressure and bullying. Allow them to use you as an excuse if they need to. Find someone closer to their own age group to talk to them about drugs and sex – oral sex is not a safe option, as many girls seem to think.
Ensure your daughters have other trusted adults in their lives. We all need someone other than our parents to talk to! Make sure that your daughter knows the difference between intimacy and sexuality. Teach her that a relationship where she suppresses her own sexuality to please her partner is not a healthy one. Be willing to discuss what she wants when she needs to. There can be no taboo subjects if you want to keep your daughter safe. Teach your sons to respect girls, and that they have needs within a relationship as well as boys. Above all, be there there for your children.
Growing up has changed dramatically. The way we parent must evolve to meet the challenge if our girls are to survive.
Despite the graphic nature of some scenes in this book (let’s face it – they see worse in movies), The Only Girl in the Car is essential reading for any teenage girl. In a world where sex is everywhere, and girls are losing their virginity earlier and earlier, this book illustrates the trouble being too free with your body can lead to. Sex can be a beautiful thing, especially when you are just discovering your sexuality, but it can also be very, very ugly. Many parents are reluctant to discuss sexual matters beyond the ’what’s happening to me’ talk. Yet, without our guidance, how can our girls learn the difference between the beauty and ugliness of sexual encounters? It is our responsibility as parents to move past our embarrassment or conservatism and teach girls how to behave in the world they live in (vastly different from when we grew up). This book is a perfect example of the ugliness that can result if girls do not learn to control their sexuality.