unRequired Reading Blog
“Shallow graves always give up their dead.” -- These Shallow Graves
In the 1890s, there was only one acceptable job for a heiress and socialite like Josephine Montford—leveraging her beauty and breeding to marry well and young. None of the teens at Miss Sparkwell’s School for Young Ladies have any goals beyond that—except Jo. She longs to be a gutsy investigative journalist like Nellie Bly. (True fact: In a day when daring careers were only for men, Nellie Bly faked mental illness to be admitted to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum, and the exposé she wrote about it changed mental health care forever.) It’s hard to imagine a dream that could be further outside the seemingly impermeable box of restrictions that Jo’s family and society have constructed for her.
In The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club, Phillip Hoose tells a captivating true tale of rebellion and bravery. In my studies of history, I had never heard of the resistance movement against German soldiers led by Danish schoolboys. Until I read this book, that is.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year—Galentine’s Day! This February 13, what better way to honor your female friendships than with books that get to the heart of the season?
Many people don’t think about this, but books have pick-up lines. Just like those people in school, online, or anywhere else where people are looking for love. With a book, sometimes all it takes is that first line to get a reader hooked. Sometimes, it’s the first few few lines, but those are still pick-up lines. After all, many times the pick-up lines you hear from interested humans are not one sentence.
“My dad works at an advertising agency and my mom anchors the local evening news. They are both very good-looking for old people, and I’m not being arrogant but just stating a fact when I say I inherited the best from both of them.” – Ashley, We Are All Made of Molecules
Ashley is the best-looking and most popular person in high school. Stewart, not so much. Stewart is a certifiable genius. Ashley? Well, let’s just say she’s a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
Twelve-year-old Adrian is too small and sickly to be a warrior. What's more, he is an albino. Due to his pale skin and white hair, some villagers think that he is a demon. The other kids call him Badger when he puts dirt under his eyes to fight the intense glare of the sun. If everything goes according to Adrian's new plan, though, people will soon be calling him The Badger Knight.
“You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.” -- Sydney, Saint Anything
Hannah is very happy to be moving to London. It’s 1665, and for a young yet just-grown-up girl, it is surely the center of all that is fascinating and bold. She’s to join her sister, Sarah, At the Sign of the Sugar Plum, where she will help craft delicious confections for gentry and commoners alike. Hannah knows she will be working hard to establish the business, and that suits the red-haired young woman perfectly. Indeed, everything suits her down to the ground, including the handsome apothecary’s apprentice.
But there are rumors that the plague is has struck London again this summer. It’s just a few people at first, and the King’s court is still in town, so nobody minds it too much. Then the disease spreads wildly, until thousands each week die in agony. Hannah and Sarah are both frightened, but leaving London and their business would mean giving up their dreams.
October has a special place in my heart. Pumpkins, changing leaves, cold weather, boots, and, of course, Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. The idea of ghosts and all types of monsters is just fascinating to me. Which is interesting in itself because I really don’t like being scared. You’ll rarely find me watching a horror movie. But scary books—those I can do, and I love them. Here are some of my favorite creepy books.
“Scuze my language.” — Billy, Ask the Dark
Billy Zeet has quite a reputation. And he got it the hard way—he earned it. Despite having a heart of gold, Billy’s rap sheet includes more petty crimes than even he can remember. He can silently break into a locked second-story window with one hand tied behind his back. And nobody can slip unseen through the dark like Billy. He’s practically a shadow. Nobody can skip school quite like Billy, either. Being the invisible man at school has put him in the seventh grade for the second time. But he has an expansive vocabulary—of cuss words.