Posts Tagged ‘puzzle’

A War of Gifts-Orson Scott Card

June 7, 2010
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Author: Orson Scott Card

Title: A War of Gifts (third book in Ender Wiggins series)

Genre: science fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Plot Summary:

This book is a novella looking at another perspective in the beginning of the Ender saga. Card’s first book looks at Ender Wiggins, the smartest and smallest kid at battle school. The second book follows Bean, the smarter and smaller kid that can baffle anyone with his intellectual prowess and battle strategies. This third book looks at Zeck Morgan, who was the son of a preacher before being plucked from his religious surroundings and forced to attend battle school, where religion is forbidden because of its time-consuming rituals. Zeck is a pacifist who participates in the educational aspects of the battle school and attends practice battles but will not shoot his gun. The other kids hate him and under estimate his power over the school until he turns the battle ground into a religious war. After one of the kids gives a Sinterklaas present to his fellow Dutch friend after a bout of homesickness, Zeck takes advantage by telling the Muslims in battle school that they are being repressed while Christmas is being celebrated and the participants are not punished. But what does Zeck really want out of his quest? Only Ender can find out.

Subject Headings: Science fiction, Christmas—fiction, Wiggin, Ender (fictitious character)—fiction.

Appeals: descriptive, religiously polical, thought-provoking, character-centered, philosophical, puzzle, emotional, insightful, multiple points of view, series (characters), strong secondary (characters), well-developed, psychological, lighthearted

3 words to describe book: philosophical, puzzle, emotional

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First Meetings – Orson Scott Card (book 4)

The fourth book of Ender’s saga, this is a collection of four novellas: The Polish Boy, Teacher’s Pest, Ender’s Game, and Investment Counselor. As the title suggests, this is the first meetings of the characters that are involved in the Ender saga and their beginnings. The fifth book is Ender in Exile, which is a novel, not a novella.

The Forever War – Joe Haldeman

Won the Hugo and Nebula award. The book is a science fiction that shows human behavior during a war period. It also philoshophically entwines the issue of war and people’s personal stances on it, especially the hero in this case who is pushed into leadership just like Ender Wiggin.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer

Oskar’s dad was killed in the 9/11 attacks. Oskar is nine and his father left him a black key. He undertakes the job to find what his key unlocks. Set in New York City. This is similar because it features a gifted child, Oskar, and how he solves a problem/puzzle in the absence of parental supervision and care.


With God on our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military – Michael Weinstein

This book reveals the illegal religious practices of U.S. Air Force Academy students and officials and how it affects the academy. This is similar to War of Gifts because it takes place at a battle school and shows what happens when religion is oppressed and/or encouraged among cadets.

Hothouse kids: the dilemma of the gifted child – Alissa Quart

Shows what happens when gifted children are measured against high standards and pitted against each other, similar to what happens in Enderverse’s battle school, but in real life!

Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers go to War – Jimmie Briggs

This book documents child soldiers in various countries that kidnap and recruit children as basically bullet sponges to provide human fodder for their religious and political wars. This is similar to the Ender’s series because children are kidnapped and recruited for battle school to fight the Buggers and other aliens in place of adult fighters.

Nathan’s Run

May 26, 2010
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Author: John Gilstrap

Title: Nathan’s Run

Genre: thriller (crime thriller)

Publication Date: 1996

Plot Summary: 12 year old Nathan Bailey is an escaped murderer. He stabbed his prison guard to death and is now on the loose in Virginia. The whole book is based around this basic problem, but goes to different perspectives of the people who get embroiled in the investigation. There is Warren, who is the lieutenant of the local police department and the detective on the case. His own son died the previous year and he is obviously still dealing with his grief as he draws connections between Nathan and his own son, making him more sympathetic to the fugitive as the case unfolds. We see Nathan’s perspective as he is trying to  remain at large and uncaptured, thinks through his crimes and motives, and tells his story to the radio host, “The Bitch.” Monica is the radio host who receives Nathan’s call as she is discussing his escape and murder on her radio show. Nathan’s Uncle Mark, who had custody of him before his initial arrest is featured and he has an interesting part in the plot (which I won’t give away).

Subject Headings:

Boy murder suspects, Orphans, Fugitives, Juvenile justice system, Suspense stories

Appeals: compelling, emotionally-charged, sarcastic, philosophical, archetypal, multiple points of view, character-centered, puzzle, cinematic, episodic, issue-oriented, strong language, thought-provoking, sad, simple, straightforward, jaded

3 words to describe book: fugitive, multiple perspectives, philosophical

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The Client -John Grisham

This book is similar to Nathan’s Run, in that a kid is being tracked by organized crime because of a crime he witnessed. This is slightly different in that it is also a lawyer type of thriller. Mark is 11. He witnesses a guy who tries to kill himself by gassing himself in his car in the woods. Mark and his little brother, Ricky, are in the woods at the time. Ricky goes into shock and has to be institutionalized. Mark tries to stop the guy. The man, before he shoots himself, tells Mark that he is a lawyer who was defending a mafia person. The mafia man killed a senator and the lawyer tells Mark where the body is. So now, Mark has to help his brother and save his family, without being killed by the mafia tying up loose ends. The family gets the eccentric lawyer, Reggie Love, to try and end the chaos before they all end up dead.

New York Dead – Stuart Woods

This is the first book in the Stone Barrington series. Stone Barrington is a humble detective in a snotty setting. On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, irresistibly famous and sexy Sasha falls 12 stories from her condo right in front of Stone… He always seems to be in the middle of the action. But, she is still alive. When her ambulance gets into a crash, she disappears. Stone doesn’t believe that Sasha’s lesbian lover is the killer, so he goes beyond the NYPD investigations to find out himself. This is a read alike for those who like melodramtic detective thrillers with sexual undertones.

The Bone Collector – Jeffery Deaver

This is the first book in the Lincoln Rhyme series. Lincoln Rhyme is the main character throughout these series, who is a criminologist (famous and extraordinary in the novel’s world). He gets in a bad accident which scared him and injured him. He cannot rest, though, because a serial killer is on the loose. He and his side kick Amelia Sachs go through New York City following clues the egotistical killer leaves behind on purpose. This is good if you like another thriller with a sexual tension and a puzzle to solve.


Juvenile – Joseph Rodriguez

This addresses the philosophical controversy thread throughout the book about juveniles in prison, what it’s like, and the issues behind it. In Gilstrap’s novel, the radio host and callers, as well as the detective and his family discuss whether Nathan is to blame and how he should be punished.

Hidden evidence: Forty true crimes and how forensic science helped to solve them – David Owen

This discusses how detectives solve crimes. In Gilstrap’s book, Warren is the detective in the book trying to find Nathan, the boy killer, based on clues and leads he finds throughout the books. Readers would want to see how real detectives do this.

Villains’ paradise: A history of Britain’s Underworld – Donald Thomas

True crime of organized crime, including mafia and gangs. This is for people who like to read about history. It also involves crime, which is the basis for Gilstrap’s thriller.