Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dealing with Summer TV Withdrawal

Today we have a guest blog post from Kady, our summer intern extraordinaire:

I like TV a lot. Like an embarrassing amount. Two of my favorite shows, Friday Night Lights and So You Think You Can Dance, just ended their summer runs and have left me in serious withdrawal. I figured now would be a good time to take a look at some books that can help fill the football and dance voids in my life.

Friday Night Lights is supposed to be a show about high school football. But it's also about small town life, first love, poverty, racism and so much more.

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

The TV show is based on a book (and movie) by H.G. Bissinger and it's a good place to start. Bissinger, a Chicago sports writer, spent the 1988 football season in Odessa, Texas following the Permian Panthers run at the state championship. The book is considered a classic for the way that Bissinger examines life in a small Texas town through the lens of football.

Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt.

This is another great book about small town life (though not football). Remy Walker loves his small and isolated West Virginia town, even with all the problems facing it. But his girlfriend and the love of his life is leaving for college and she wants him to come with her. Wyatt captures the conflict between wanting more than a small town can offer and the pull that home and land can have on a person better than any author I've read before or since.

Running Loose by Chris Crutcher

Back to football! Running Loose deals with a lot of the same issues as Friday Night Lights including racism, death and first love. Louie Banks is a small town football hero with great grades and an amazing girlfriend. Until the football coach orders him to make an illegal hit on an opposing player and Louie walks off the field. Dealing with the fall-out seems to be more than Louie can deal with, until an even bigger tragedy occurs and Louie is forced to examine his priorities and learn what it really means to be a man.

So You Think You Can Dance is an all out celebration of dance. And it's awesome. Dancers from the show have started popping up everywhere and several are featured in the new Step Up 3D movie.

Dancer by Lori Hewett

Lori Hewett was only 17 when she wrote her first book about the challenges of training to be an elite ballerina.

17 year old Stephanie lives for ballet, but doesn't know if the world (much less her parents) are ready for a black ballerina. When Stephanie begins taking extra classes from the flamboyant Miss Winnie, a retired African American dancer who could have been great and who believes in Stephanie, she also meets and falls for Miss Winnie's nephew Vance. Caught between their two dynamic and opposing feelings about dance, Stephanie must ask herself what in life is important and how much is she willing to give up for her dream?

Raven by Allison Van Diepen

A book about break dancing AND supernatural beings? Sign me up!

Nicole uses break dancing as an escape from the rest of her life. As a member of the Toprocks crew, Nicole gets access to a world that most high-school seniors can only dream about. She also gets access the Zin, the leader of the Toprocks and Nicole's crush. As her home life becomes increasingly unstable, Nicole begins to rely on Zin and the crew more and more. But everybody has secrets and a dark side and the Toprocks are no exception.

Attitude!: Eight Young Dancers Come of Age at the Ailey School by Katherine Davis Fishman

Head on up to Adult Non-Fiction to find this account of a year at one the nation's most prestigious dance schools.

Fishman spent one year following eight dancers at the Ailey School and trying to figure out what makes some dancers choose to pursue a future in the performing arts and others to give it up. Through interviews with the dancers, their families and teachers, Fishman tackles issues central to both dance and teenagers everywhere (including injury and weight issues, sexuality and race) while painting a clear picture of life in one of the most successful modern dance academies.

1 comment:

kathryn said...

I also like Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, a football book about a girl in a small Wisconsin town. Favorite dance book? Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, a retelling of Grimms' The Twelve Dancing Princesses.