April 21, 2010

Review: Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens

Before the review, two news items:

I've found a new, awesome charity: Project Schoolhouse. Their donations page offers three ways to help: PayPal, a check, or direct donations of Spanish language books. Project Schoolhouse works build new schools, provide clean water, and improve sanitation in rural communities of developing countries.

In addition, Children's Book Week is gearing up for this years celebration. You can vote here in the Children's Choice Book Awards. (SHIVER, which Rachelle recommended earlier today, is a nominee in the teen category.)

Book Cover

By Rachelle Rogers Knight
Available now from Sourcebooks; Review Copy

Some things are harder to review than others. READ, REMEMBER, RECOMMEND FOR TEENS is probably best for people who like to stay organized and can keep up with things. Generally I try to, but I always forget tools like this and use them sporadically.

I like the list. They're a good way to keep track of what awards reward books you like and such. (I also learned I need to read more nonfiction and Canadian authors.) My main complaint is that there's no way to mark books that you've read but don't own. I suppose you could use the "Recommend" box, but personally, I don't like every book I read. I settled for writing "have read" in the margin. Sometimes there are mistakes on the lists, like Holly Black's KIN: THE GOOD NEIGHBORS being listed under "nonfiction."

One of the best things about the lists though was learning about awards that I'd never heard of, like the Alex Awards, which are for adult books with appeal to young adults. I'd only read a few of the winners, but many of the rest look like something I would enjoy. A number of the winners are books I'd heard of but wasn't sure if I'd like.

There's a "To Read" section, which I might use to jot down things I see interesting reviews for. I wouldn't actually write down what I'm planning to read as I tend to change my mind about that too often. There are 64 boxes in which to record your "To Read" books. Next are a series of "Journal Pages" to keep track of what you're reading - you can put it in a simple list or fill out more detailed cards. Helpful for some people, but I'd forget to do it after a week. Same with the "Recommendations" section.

The section I really love is the "Loaner Lists." Title, loaned to, when borrowed, when returned. There are 132 boxes to fill out, which allows me to lend plenty of books and know who has them. As this is information I am always forgetting, I like having a place to put it.

The final section is "Resources." This contains other places to find lists, definitions of literary terms, blogs and other book websites, author websites, and an index. I think the author website list is more helpful than the blog list. It's hard to find every YA blog, and some of the ones Knigh listed aren't my favorites. The literary definitions are well-done, but fairly superficial (mostly defining genres and such). Of course, I'm an English major and have an entire dictionary of English terms.

If you like to journal, lend out a bunch of books, or want to find something new to read, READ, REMEMBER, RECOMMEND FOR TEENS might be a good addition to your shelf.


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