Mini-reviews: Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan; Poet’s Choice: Poems for Everyday Life, Selected and Introduced by Robert Hass; and Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk

Title: Sea of Monsters
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Middle grade fiction, fantasy
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: My nightmare started like this.

This is the second book in Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and the second one I’ve read aloud to my kids. We loved this one just as much as the first. Riordan has done a good job of giving us an over-arching mystery (the prophecy surrounding a child of one of the “Big Three” gods at age sixteen), but also giving us a rollicking, fun tale in the meantime. Percy, Annabeth, and a young Cyclops named Tyson head out to the Sea of Monsters to rescue Grover and prevent him from becoming a Cyclops’ bride. Like the first book, modern culture is woven together with Greek mythology, making for some very funny and hair-raising adventures.

Title: Poet’s Choice: Poems for Everyday Life
Author: Selected and introduced by Robert Hass
Genre: Poetry
Publisher: The Ecco Press
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library

Like many anthologies, I loved a few poems from this collection, liked a lot more, and didn’t care for some. But what makes this one stand out is the format. When Robert Hass was United States Poet Laureate, he started a nationally syndicated poetry column that ran in many national newspapers. He compiled those columns by season and put together this book, which includes not only the poems he chose to share with the American public, but also his thoughts on the poem, as well as as a bit of biographical detail about the poet. Most of the poetry is American, with a few exceptions, and much of it is very good. I enjoyed reading Hass’s notes on each poem and his explanation as to why he chose that one for his column.

Title: Waiting for Columbus
Author: Thomas Trofimuk
Genre: Contemporary fiction, literary fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: Imagine a man standing on a rocky shoreline looking out to sea, pondering the question, the same question we whisper when we look up at night into a star-crazed sky – swirls of light millions of years old – everything moving away, or toward, or around: What’s out there?

What can I say? I read this a couple of months ago for a read-along with some other bloggers, and some of them disliked it as much as I loved it. All I can say is that I thought it was brilliant. Beautifully written, lushly sensual with details of taste, touch, smell – and an intriguing mystery as well. A man washes up on the beach in Spain. His belief that he is Christopher Columbus lands him in an insane asylum, where his detailed tales of Columbus’s life intrigue the nurse who cares for him. Who is he? What happened to him to cause him to have such a slip from reality? And why is she so drawn to him? Trofimuk answers all of those questions, and gives us a beautiful story of love and loss.

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7 Responses to Mini-reviews: Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan; Poet’s Choice: Poems for Everyday Life, Selected and Introduced by Robert Hass; and Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    My kids just couldn’t get into the Percy Jackson books. They sometimes are too critical for their own enjoyment I think. But Watiing for Columbus is a book that calls out to me. I’m puzzled by the two factions…the love it to the point of a five star rating group, and the hated it group. How can I not want to find out where I fall?
    Sandy´s last post ..Monday Movie Meme – Ladies in Orange Jumpsuits

  2. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    I’ve read some fabulous reviews of Waiting for Columbus and really feel like I need to read it.

  3. Trisha
    Twitter: Trish422
    says:

    I think the Percy Jackson series is my favorite middle grade series in quite some time. I’m glad you guys are all enjoying it.
    Trisha´s last post ..5 Best Booksabout surviving the teen years

  4. Pingback: Favorite contemporary fiction of 2011 | BOOKS AND MOVIES

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