Monday, May 21, 2007

"In a final show of strength, the sun amped up its assault, blazing intensely before finanlly giving up and dropping below the rim of the earth. The searing breeze turned deliciously cool. The desert breathed a sigh of relief. At last I could let down my guard and revel in my environs, watching happily as the sky turned into a swirl of pink and violet and bronze as darkness slowly seeped from the east. I realized that the safest place in the Sahara was not a place at all, but a time: night. Making it to sunset, I thought, was the one goal I could pin my hopes on every day, since it would never disappoint. I unbuttoned my shirt to let the refreshing evening air wash over as much of my skin as possible."

What would you do for an adventure? Swim the English channel? Climb a mountain? Ride a bull in a rodeo? For Michael Benanav it was a lifelong dream to explore deserets. One night, while surfing the Internet, he stumbled across information about the Caravan of White Gold and the salt mines of Taoudenni. The Caraven was actually composed of Berabish desert people riding camels who would brave the searing heat of the Sahara desert to go deep into its heart to the salt mines of Taoudenni, where they would take blocks of this once precious mineral (once worth its weight in gold!) and transport it back to civilization. Michael was hooked! In short order he had scrapped most of his life savings together and was flying to Africa to meet with a guide to take him into the desert and join the Caravan. Together they would brave the barren, unforgiving land and make their way to Taoudenni and back.

Far from being a safe adventure, this is daring true story of a man who braved 117 degree temperature, dangerous land, and the constant threat that if he fell ill, the tribe would leave him to die in the desert rather than take him back to civilization, all in order to chase his dreams. The book starts off a little slow, but once your into it, your hooked! Check out "Men of Salt: Crossing the Sahara on the Caravan of White Gold." You won't regret it!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Surviving Your Student Loans, by Nancy Mitchell

Face it, there are lots of jobs in the world that require a college education. So many teens end up going to college, community college, or technical school. What are your plans? Did you know that most people who go to college now end up taking out large student loans to pay for it? And of course, once they graduate and get a job, the banks will want their money back . . . with interest!

Nancy Mitchel recently (2006) wrote this excellent book about how to deal with your student loans once you graduate from school. I highly recommend to anyone thinking of braving college or technical school. It gives sound advice on what kind of loans there are, as well as the problems of defaulting, deferring, forbearance and being deliquent. It's an eye-opener for all teens about how the loan process works!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Drawing a Blank
By Daniel Ehrenhaft (2006).

What do you get when you mix a shy, misunderstood teen living in a private New England Prep School (who draws a syndicated comic on the sly), his father who's kidnapped, an ancient Scottish dagger, and a beautiful - but rough and tumble - girl, who's comes to help the teen rescue his dad? The answer is Daniel Ehrenhaft's latest novel: Drawing A Blank: Or How I Tried to Solve a Mystery, End a Feud, and Land the Girl of My Dreams.

Carlton Dunne IVth is a likable, quiet teen who'd really just like to spend time drawing his comic Signy the Superbad for a local newspaper (which he keeps a secret), and keep the hell away from Bryce Perry - the seriously pesky punk making his life miserable. School is boring. His mom is long dead, and his father is wrapped up in dealing with some ancient family feud with a clan in Scotland. Life seems to be one long, dull day after another . . . until is father is kidnapped.

Now it's up to Carlton to gather his wits and charge out to Scotland on a one-man rescue mission. Coming to his aid is the beautiful Aileen (a cross between Zena: Warrior Princess and a beauty pageant contestant). Adventure and fun await Carlton, and the reader of this fun, good-spirited novel.