Monday, September 29, 2008

My Fantasy Book Club

If I had total autonomy over the next book club I host, here is what I would plan:

I would serve Cheetos and rootbeer as refreshments. I'd have action figures and matchbox cars available. And we'd finish with a huge game of freeze tag or capture the flag. Why, you ask? Because my book club meeting would include only 8 to 12 year-old BOYS!

No, I don't have a deathwish for all my breakables (like I have any to begin with). It's just that the books I've enjoyed the most lately have come from my 9 year-old son's bookshelf. Here are my three favorite 'tween boy book series.

Peter and the Star Catchers
by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
This is a 3 book series written as a prequel to the Peter Pan story. The authors cleverly explain the origins of the magical elements of Peter's life, how the Darling parents meet and James M. Barrie makes a cameo appearance. The books are fast moving and action packed. They introduce new enemies beyond the bi-polar, comical Cap'n Hook, but skip the un-PC references to "Injuns" replacing them with a tropical-island tribe.

by Brandon Mull
The author has published 3 of what will eventually be a 5 book series. This is your typical real-world meets fantasy-world story where the good and evil creatures keep a tenuous balance. The stories are overflowing with magical adventure including a cow of Paul Bunyan proportions, getting digested by a stone demon, a mortal-immortal love story, and a wonderful over-riding theme of being safe from evil as long as you don't invite it in.

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan
This is Greek Mythology set in the modern world but in a thoughtful, clever way. Not like the cheesy "Medusa goes to the Mall" kind of books. Four books have been published with one more in the works. These books follow the adventures of Percy Jackson who is half-god half-mortal in the heroic tradition of Hercules, Theseus and Achilles. These book have not only action and adventure, but humor and wit.

Okay, so this isn't the stuff of college literature, but it does take me back to my own 'tween years of devouring Madeline L'Engle and the Chronicles of Narnia. It's great fun to talk with my son about the books, what our favorite moments and characters are, and what we think is going to happen next. It also makes me grateful I have a son and not a daughter of this age so I don't have to discuss love-sick vampires and irresolute girls with their sexual curiousity on overdrive.

shoot, I just lost all my friends.


Ambie said...

Nathaniel .. is that you?

ray said...

haha! if Nathaniel ever said, "sexual curiosity on overdrive" he would be incredibly busted!

Cheryl said...

I haven't read any of those books, but you make them sound interesting. I"ll have to check them out. I'll need to borrow a young boy to buy them for though. Luke is in the middle of the epic Jordon series. I read the first 5 and then could not go another page.

I will say that I read the Twilight series when there was ony 2 books and I enjoyed it very much. I don't get the obsessive way it has gripped the world, however.

Well, I'm off to go read Pride and Prejudice again. Lots of love sickness going on in there!

Kristine said...

I like you. :) Can I be in your book club?

Peter and the Star Catchers was fun! I only read the first one. I should read the others.

I've been meaning to read Fablehaven, out of my sense of duty as a middle school teacher.

I love that teaching gives me an excuse to read and enjoy kids/YA lit. :)

Oh, and I also read the first two Twilight books a couple years ago to satisfy a friend. But they were painful, and I haven't brought myself to continue the series. I hope that Madeline L'Engle and CS Lewis aren't watching what's taking their place on some kids' bookshelves...

ray said...

Cheryl, wow, Luke's reading Jordan? I guess he's not still 10years old. I only got through the first 2. Someday when I'm old I will finish them. You can't go wrong with Jane Austen. I love the witty banter and the class consciousness/rebellion.

Duty aside, I think you will enjoy Fablehaven, Kristine. He's an LDS author and an ex-mission companion of my bro-in-law. We met him at a book signing here in Hawaii. I agree about the "grave-rolling". I absolutely hate the phrase "at least they're reading..." That's like giving chocolate to your picky eater and saying, "at least they're eating."