Category Archives: All North Florida Tour

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin – The Newbery Project

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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin - Newberry Project

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin

Newbery Honor Book – 2010

AR Level: 5.5; Middle Grades

I’m a few books in on a new project to “read” the Newbery Award medal and honor books. I put the “read” in quotes not because I’m one of those people who like to overuse quotes (that’s one of my pet-peeves, actually), but because I’m doing most of my “reading” by audiobook. As I’ve mentioned on this blog previously, I have a painfully long and gas-wasting commute. The only thing I’ve found that can make my 2 hours of driving per day less excruciatingly painful is the company of a good book.

Happily, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon met the “good book” criteria and then some.

NOTE TO SELF: The above post is what you get when you start a post, schedule it for posting a few days later, get busy, then have a family emergency the afternoon before the post was scheduled to be published.

I’m sure I had so much more to say about Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. It was such a good book, and the audio version, narrated by Janet Song, was so entrancing that even my 12-year old didn’t want to get out of the car when we arrived at our destination. We ended up about an hour later crowded around a laptop just…listening.

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The Hunger Games. Not Safe for Driving.

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The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

As part of my continuing effort to make the best of the “All North Florida Tour” (AKA my 74 mile round-trip commute on days I pick up and drop off the kids), I started listening last week to The Hunger Games on CD in the car. When got to the soccer field on Friday to pick up T, I had two thoughts: (1) I hope they haven’t noticed that I’m here yet so I’ll have a few more minutes to listen to the book, and (2) I’m going to go crazy waiting until Monday to be able to listen again. And, of course, I just spent ten minutes sitting in my car in the driveway, listening to the dog whimpering to be let out, because I really needed to know Katniss’s plan before I turned the book off for the night.

The really amazing thing is, so far I haven’t (a) gotten into a wreck because I was so into the book that I forgot to pay attention to other cars or (b) found myself randomly crossing the Georgia border because I forgot to take my exit 45 miles earlier. Both of these are really surprising.

I’ve listened to a lot of books on CD in the car in the past two-and-a-half years. Many of them have been great books (e.g., The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 — if you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s hilarious and meaningful. I’ll never think of Yakety Yak in quite the same way again.) But I don’t think I’ve listened to one yet that had me so completely involved in the story. I think about it during the day. I dream about it at night. I nearly drive myself crazy googling “Hunger Games” or “Katniss” or “Peeta Mellark” and then forcing myself not to click on any of the links for fear  I’ll see spoilers. And for someone used to reading whole books in a night, it takes so amazingly long to listen to a 350+ page book. I admit, though I keep being tempted to just go buy the book and get it over with, I know that I’m enjoying more by letting the story play out slowly. I get a chance to actually worry about Katniss, and Peeta, and Rue, instead of just turning the page and plowing through to find out what happens next.

I’m about halfway through the book now. Can Suzanne Collins possibly keep up the tension for another 4 CDs? Will I go nuts waiting a whole week to get to the end of the book? And will the end of Book 1 just make me desperately want to read Catching Fire? We’ll see.