Hello, everyone! My name is Elizabeth, and I’m co-Head of Book Activities with Michelle. I’m going to keep this super short and sweet: if you guys hadn’t already known, IGGPPC has a book club! With the New Year, the clubs are now not clubs- instead, the IGGPPC book club is now IGGPPC Iggle BookWorms, and Michelle and I are Heads of Book Activities, not Book Club Directors. What does this mean for the club? Not much, really! This is more of just a name change and an opportunity for clubs to become more active and inclusive. Michelle and I have lots of cool new things planned for this year, so if you’ve always wanted to join, now’s the time! We’ll still be mostly over on Goodreads, but Michelle will be in charge of posting our book discussion on our forums on the website, and helping make them a bit more active. After all, I know not everyone wants a Goodreads account. 🙂 We’ll also still be doing our book of the month, series, etc., but we have a 2015 reading challenge ready, we’re going to make the Twitter more active, and we’re getting an Instagram! If you have any other ideas or even questions, please let us know! You can either send them our way through Twitter(@IggleBookWorms) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we’ll get to them as soon as possible.
Now, on to this month’s books! Also with the changes, I’ll be making a blog post for each month’s new books, as a reminder. I’ve tried in the past, but I would often forget to. But here’s to a new year!
For January’s book of the month, I gave the book club members the theme of a nonfiction book that was a little inspiring – and while I can’t say this one is inspiring, it sure is interesting!
Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
You think you know her story. You’ve read the Brothers Grimm, you’ve watched the Disney cartoons, you cheered as these virtuous women lived happily ever after. But the lives of real princesses couldn’t be more different. Sure, many were graceful and benevolent leaders—but just as many were ruthless in their quest for power, and all of them had skeletons rattling in their royal closets. Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe was a Nazi spy. Empress Elizabeth of the Austro-Hungarian empire slept wearing a mask of raw veal. Princess Olga of Kiev murdered thousands of men, and Princess Rani Lakshmibai waged war on the battlefield, charging into combat with her toddler son strapped to her back. Princesses Behaving Badly offers minibiographies of all these princesses and dozens more. It’s a fascinating read for history buffs, feminists, and anyone seeking a different kind of bedtime story.
For January’s graphic novel, we picked something that the IGGPPC gamer girls will love- In Real Life. Here’s the description:
In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends.
But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer–a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.
From acclaimed teen author (Little Brother, For the Win) and Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow and Koko Be Good creator Jen Wang, In Real Life is a perceptive and high-stakes look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture clash.
As for series, we’ll be continuing with the Harry Potter series and The Grisha series. WARNING: If you haven’t read the first three Harry Potter books or the first Grisha book, skip this section. Spoilers, sweetie!
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (#5) by J.K. Rowling
Harry has just returned to Hogwarts after a lonely summer. Dumbledore is uncommunicative and most of the students seem to think Harry is either conceited or crazy for insisting that Voldemort is back and as evil as ever. Angry, scared, and unable to confide in his godfather, Sirius, the teen wizard lashes out at his friends and enemies alike. The head of the Ministry of Magic is determined to discredit Dumbledore and undermine his leadership of Hogwarts, and he appoints nasty, pink-cardigan-clad Professor Umbridge as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and High Inquisitor of the school, bringing misery upon staff and students alike. This bureaucratic nightmare, added to Harry’s certain knowledge that Voldemort is becoming more powerful, creates a desperate, Kafkaesque feeling during Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts. The adults all seem evil, misguided, or simply powerless, so the students must take matters into their own hands. Harry’s confusion about his godfather and father, and his apparent rejection by Dumbledore make him question his own motives and the condition of his soul. Also, Harry is now 15, and the hormones are beginning to kick in. There are a lot of secret doings, a little romance, and very little Quidditch or Hagrid (more reasons for Harry’s gloom), but the power of this book comes from the young magician’s struggles with his emotions and identity. Particularly moving is the unveiling, after a final devastating tragedy, of Dumbledore’s very strong feelings of attachment and responsibility toward Harry. Children will enjoy the magic and the Hogwarts mystique, and young adult readers will find a rich and compelling coming-of-age story as well.
Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm…
That’s all the books for January- don’t forget to do the reading challenge for the month, too! All of its information is posted on the Goodreads group page and the forums- we even have video game related book suggestions if you’re stuck. Happy reading, fellow Iggle BookWorms!