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Books and Ideas

"Our Choice" book reviews are written by the booksellers — at Ashland's independent bookstore, Bloomsbury Books. The books reviewed — are our favorites, and include older titles as well as new ones.

Books for Young Adults

All these reviews are written by Anita, the Children's — Book Buyer for Bloomsbury Books

o "Because of Winn-Dixie" By Kate DiCamillo

It's summer, and 10-year old India Opal has just moved — with her preacher father to a small town in Florida. She's lonely at first, — until she meets and adopts a scraggly, stray dog she names Winn-Dixie — (after the supermarket where she finds him). Winn-Dixie has the most wonderful — and lovable dog personality imaginable. Together, girl and dog team up — to befriend a host of unforgettable, eccentric characters. This Newbery — Honor Book is an absolutely heartwarming story of friendship, acceptance, — and the bittersweet nature of life. For ages 8-12.

o "Stand Tall" by Joan Bauer

If you have not read anything by author Joan Bauer, you — are definitely missing something. Bauer writes fiction for young adults — with incredible insight and sensitivity to the feelings of today's youth. — Her latest novel, "Stand Tall," tells the story of 12-year-old "Tree," — nicknamed because of his extremely unusual height. Tree must come to terms — not only with being so tall, but also with many other pressures in his — life. His parents have just gotten divorced, he is teased by the popular — kids at school, he has no aptitude for sports (though everyone expects — him to excel at basketball), and his beloved grandfather has to have part — of his leg amputated due to an old war injury. Tree is able to discover — his strengths, however, in the face of all these crises. A beautifully — told story in words a 11- to 15-year-old can understand.

o "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini

Dear Harry Potter fans, do not despair. Another exciting — fantasy adventure has come along. "Eragon," by Christopher Paolini, is — the magical tale of a 15-year-old boy who finds a blue stone that hatches — into a dragon, Saphira. The boy, Eragon, and the dragon develop a very — close and caring relationship and they set out together on an epic journey — in which they are pursued by the fanatical King Galbatorix. This is a — rich, detailed fantasy, filled with magic, dwarves, elves, and dragons. — Paolini is clearly influenced by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and Anne — McCaffrey, and the book is complex enough to be appropriate for a relatively — sophisticated young reader. But the book is also a coming of age story, — in which Eragon learns about exile, magic, love and his own destiny. Perhaps — the best part of all is that the author is only 19 years old, and he started — writing "Eragon" when he was 15. "Eragon" is the first book of a trilogy.

o "Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke

Imagine what it would be like if characters from books — came to life. In the creative new young adult novel entitled "Inkheart," — by Cornelia Funke, twelve-year-old Meggie discovers her father's magical — ability to draw characters out of books when he reads aloud. Unfortunately, — some of the characters he reads out of the books are dangerous villains. — Soon Meggie, her father, and her great-aunt Elinor are enmeshed in a scary — adventure from which they desperately try to escape. A great way for a — reader to literally get lost in a book. Also look for Cornelia Funke's — exciting and wonderful Oliver Twist-like tale, "The Lord Thief," which — is now available in paperback.

"The House of the Scorpion" By Nancy Farmer

This National Book Award-winning novel is exciting and — well-written science fiction for young adults. The story takes place in — the future, and centers around Matt, a young boy who is the clone of a — powerful drug lord. Matt struggles to understand the society he lives — in, and from which he must escape. A definite page-turner. Ages 11-15

Employees at Ashland's new and used bookstore Bookwagon — recommend the following titles:

o "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight" By Alexandra Fuller. — Fuller's memoir of an African Childhood is an energetic and unapologetic — recall of life for an English family during Rhodesia's fight for independence. — Bobo's childhood is centered around her fascinatingly unwholesome family — and the fiercely independent spirit that drives their fight to forge a — life in the land that they love. - Laura. Paperback $9.80.

o "Bookends" by Jane Green

Ten years after university life, Cath, Si, and Josh have — made lives for themselves (as happy or unhappy as they may be.) Suddenly, — life is turned upside down when Cath changes professions, Si starts dating — again, and a fourth college friend, glamour girl Portia, re-enters their — lives. The twisting plot, familiar characters and sarcastic British humor — make this a great, light, summer read that redefines love, friendship, — intimacy and what it means to be a successful woman. - Brittney. Paperback — $8.40.

o "Garden of Eden" by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway's posthumous novel is a deviation from his usual — masculine writing style. While reserved writer David Bourne and his wife — Catherine are honeymooning in France, they become involved in a love triangle — with an alluring woman. The couple's plans soon go awry as they struggle — with the boundaries of their marriage. This novel of lust and competition — contains the escape readers have grown to expect from Hemingway's previous — works. - Amanda. Paperback $9.10.

o "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis

The story of how the low budget Oakland A's and their — general manager Billy Beane manage to win so many games with one of the — lowest payrolls in the Major Leagues. A great book about baseball, baseball — theory, and statistics, and as with all great reporting, the story transcends — its subject and becomes a story about much more than baseball. - Carl. — Paperback $9.80.