Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers July 31, 2011

The story begins in the summer of 2005.  Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun and their four children live in New Orleans.  Syrian-born Zeitoun and his wife own a busy and well-known painting company.  When they begin to hear warnings for a massive hurricane heading their way, they don’t think much of it.  After all, this happens every year.  As the warnings become more dire, however, Kathy decides to take the family north, out of danger.  Zeitoun decides to stay behind, to watch over the houses under construction.  What begins as a small storm turns into a nightmare when the levee is breaks and the city is filled with water.  At first Zeitoun is glad to have stayed behind; he moves their valuables out of harm’s way and rescues those stranded in his secondhand canoe.  One day, Zeitoun and three other men are taken away.  What follows is a horrifying series of events where the men are imprisoned, exposed to inhuman treatment, with no way to contact loved ones.  The most appalling part is that this actually happened.  In America.  In the 21st century.

Zeitoun is a powerful work of narrative non-fiction.  I couldn’t put it down.  At the time, I didn’t really follow what was going on; it was hard to know what to believe in the media reports.  Reading this made me realize just how awful the situation in New Orleans was.  Zeitoun’s story is shocking.  Highly recommended- prepare to be blown away.


Godless by Pete Hautman November 9, 2010

When Jason Bock is punched in the face below the town’s water tower, he has an epiphany.  Rather than being forced into his parents’ boring old religion, he’ll create his own.  Jason, aka His Kahunaness, recruits his best friend Shin, the cute girl from his church group Magda, and the town bully Henry to become “Chutengodians”.  They worship their new god, the town water tower.  Things are all fun until their first worship high atop the dome of the water tower where things become dangerous and almost deadly.  Jason then has to deal with the burden of controlling his new religion before it destroys its followers.


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