Monday, July 15, 2019

Book Club Week!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I had three book clubs this week, and boy are my eyes tired! Also went out for dinner a few times.

My monthly friends group met and we discussed Packing For Mars which had a lot of fun bits. We mostly talked about what a fun job the author has carved out for herself, and which was the strangest rabbit hole she dove down during her space exploration. And we talked about books and life and fanfiction.

Wednesday my local library had their Romance Book club, where we talked about The Lawrence Browne Affair. That one was also fun, and the librarian always makes up a "If You Liked X try Y" list. Apparently this group is popular enough that they might extend it past the summer, which would be fun.

And my ongoing Tuesday club realized that we didn't actually have a current book so we have chosen The Murders of Molly Southbourne for next week, and I've already finished it! Go me!

My currently reading has steadied at 19. One book club book, a library book, a book from my shelves, an audio book for the car, a book on my NOOK, a reread from my shelves, the serial audio book I get a few minutes of each week, five books I'm just kidding myself that I'm reading, one ancient book that I'm trying to actually finish, and my six books that I'm only sorta reading.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading so I'll sign up there. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers so I'll sign up over there, since I read the Cybils YA books (and the Levithan).

Started: 

Boy Meets BoyBonnie and Clyde: The Making of a LegendRiver of Teeth (River of Teeth, #1)The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, #1)
The Grand Escape: The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th CenturyThe SilveredEidolon (Adventures in the Liaden Universe, #14)


Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan. I read this for the weekly challenge.

Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend, Karen Blumenthal. Cybils YA nonfiction.

River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey. The fact that American hippopotamus farms was a real idea makes this fictional version even better.

The Grand Escape: The Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century, Neal Bascomb.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne, Tade Thompson. For my Tuesday book club.

Silvered, Tanya Huff. Because Tanya Huff wrote it.

Eidolon, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. From my shelves.

Completed:

We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial DivideThe Lawrence Browne Affair (The Turner Series, #2)Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a LegendBoy Meets Boy


We Are Not Yet Equal, Carol Anderson. YA Cybils nonfiction book. A history of the ways in which American has restricted the vote, employment, and civil rights of African Americans since the Civil War, with a look on how what that means for the current opportunities of blacks in America today. It goes up to the present with a look at attempts to limit voter registration and access in many southern states. There are a few places where I wished there was more nuance (racists have used a call for local control of schools to fight desegregation and limit access, but that doesn't mean everyone dubious about a nationally run school system is trying to roll back Brown v Board of Education).

The Lawrence Browne Affair, Cat Sebastian. For Renton library book club. We had a fun discussion that involved how to categorize books, whether #OWNVOICES is a concern in m/m romance, and how to categorize how explicit a book is, among other things.

Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend, Karen Blumenthal. Cybils YA nonfiction. This was a good look at who the outlaws were, what they did, and why America find them so interesting. Coming right after Anderson's book I was very aware that reading this book give no hint that blacks existed in America back then, even though the book looks at law enforcement, prisons, and homeless camps. I'm not sure whether segregation was so strong that Clyde never saw or robbed an African American, or whether the historical documents Blumenthal draws from ignore them.

Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan. This is a fun, rather low-stakes YA romance. Two high schoolers fall in love, one sorta cheats on the other, then works to win his boyfriend back. It's nifty because the high school they attend is wildly accepting of any sexuality or gender expression, which is fun to read, but neighboring towns have more conventional mores -- a friend has issues with his parent's religious fears around his homosexuality. Another friend is unpleasantly obsessed with her rather boorish new boyfriend. I was exhausted by all the teen drama, I admit. I'm old.

River of Teeth (River of Teeth, #1)The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, #1)Eidolon (Adventures in the Liaden Universe, #14)

River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey. This book definitely delivers all the action of hippopotamus wrangling that I wanted, although with a bit more murder and torture than I prefer. The life of a hippo rider is a hard one, and that's before you go in for elaborate conspiracies and bombings and card sharping. And love.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne, Tade Thompson. Two books in a row with a lot of blood and gore -- there are a lot of murders in here. But it was an interesting premise and an interesting character and I wanted to see how she dealt with things. Should be an interesting book club pick.

Eidolon, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Before Baen starting compiling them all into anthologies, Lee and Miller would put out small pamphlets with two or three Liaden short stories. And I'd buy 'em. Somehow this one fell into my TBR bookcase so I pulled it out because I was on a roll to read seven books this week. The two stories show how the affects very intense yos'Phelium men have on the innocent bystanders in their way, the ones who they buy their rugs and maybe some beer from.

Bookmarks Moved In:

Son of the Black Sword (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, #1)Cyteen (Cyteen, #1-3)Tell the Wolves I'm Home
The Way Into Darkness  (The Great Way #3)Stories of My LifeThe Last Unicorn


Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia. 51/? Baen's podcast serial. One character has decided to track down another. Since I'd prefer it if their narratives merged I'm all for this.

Cyteen, C.J. Cherryh. Reread. OK, Grant has now delivered himself to the bad guys. Kids, this was not a good plan! Of course, none of the options were good.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt. Sisters are back to being mean to each other, which, fair enough, pretty much describes my life with my sister. I was a mean kid.

The Way Into Darkness, Harry Connolly. A lot of our hero's issues with endangering children is coming out. It's endearing. Also, kids are dumb.

Stories of My Life, Katherine Paterson. 5-6/7 Discs. Library Quest audio that I'm enjoying. A bit quiet these discs since they are about her favorite pets

The Last Unicorn, Peter Beagle. The June Sword and Laser pick. So, last time I read this Schmendrick was old and the unicorn girl was a normal age. Molly was ancient (probably close to thirty!). Now they are all foolish whippersnappers, and Schmendrick is annoying with it.


Picture Books:

None! I was barely in the library. Very sad.

Palate Cleansers

These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)Sammy Keyes and the Art of DeceptionThe Inn of the Sixth HappinessThe Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeCookieReading and Learning to Read

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George. Bad cops think real hard, ex-cons betray each other.

Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception, Wendelin Van Draanen. Sammy solves everything -- from the meaning of art to the love problems of her grandmother. Sammy is awesome.

Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Alan Burgess. Has our missionary found love?

The Educated Child, William Bennett. Well, the preschool chapter turned out to be about the age, because now we are reviewing what to look for. Also, daycare is bad.

Cookie, Jacqueline Wilson. This girl needs a different dad -- these two are not a good combination.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Conclusion and exercises (which I don't do) to practice setting up a journal/writing plan.

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils 2017.  No progress
  2. Cybils 2018. Finished two of the YA nonfiction, started a third. Just like last week!
  3. Reading My Library. Enjoying Stories of My Life, which I think is the last audio CD. Haven't started the next print book.
  4. KCLS Ten to Try. Still need to read a poetry book and the librarian recommend.
  5. The Hunt Is On!  Curses! I missed a task. Shouldn't do my book searches late at night while falling asleep. Two books, six and three tasks.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Loud Bangs in the Night

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Midweek July 4ths are a bit smaller. Wednesday I went to a friends for gaming and grills. We did some Bards Dispense Profanity, which is a literary version of Cards Against Humanity, then ate all sorts of goodies (I brought potato chips and a cheese plate) from exotic fruit salads (figs! marinated raisons! blueberries!) to pork rinds and hamburgers and hot dogs. Thursday my BIL put on 1776 and and then in a manly way grilled us some food. He knows me well enough to keep my burgers way over on the side so they are beautifully rare, just the way we like 'em.

Then as the evening wore on he read out some of the president's speech so we could fall about laughing and looking up more jokes about the Revolutionary Air Force. Sit down, John!

My currently reading has steadied at 19. Two book club books (one is running late, and the other needs to be done by Wednesday, a library book, an audio book for the car, a book on my NOOK, a reread from my shelves, the serial audio book I get a few minutes of each week, five books I'm just kidding myself that I'm reading, one ancient book that I'm trying to actually finish, and my six books that I'm only sorta reading.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading so I'll sign up there. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers so I'll sign up over there, since I read a pile of picture books, plus the Cybils YA books.

Started: 

Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the BallotThe Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill HitlerElements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends
We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial DivideThe Lawrence Browne Affair (The Turner Series, #2)


Votes for Women, Winifred Conkling. YA Cybils history book.

The Faithful Spy, John Hendrix. YA Cybils history book.

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends, Nancy Kress. I picked this up at Foolscap.

We Are Not Yet Equal, Carol Anderson. YA Cybils nonfiction book.

The Lawrence Browne Affair, Cat Sebastian. For Renton library book club.

Completed:

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #1)Envy of Angels (Sin du Jour, #1)Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill HitlerElements of Fiction Writing - Beginnings, Middles & Ends

A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan. I really enjoyed the viewpoint character and the setting, which was all new names in a quintessential historical British setting. There was real danger but we knew our heroine would make it through as she was writing this from memory in her old age, another conceit I enjoy. I will look out for the rest of these.

Envy of Angels, Matt Wallace. A fun short book about New York cooks. Our hard working line chefs find themselves hired by a team that caters to the supernatural, and confront tough moral questions like: is it OK to eat an angel? And what goes into those chicken nuggets anyway? It's fun and lighthearted, playing on folk myths and cooking biographies.

Votes for Women, Winifred Conkling. YA Cybils history book. The problem with YA history is that it tends to circle the same topics, so this has to stand against the other books on the history of women's suffrage I've read in the past few years. It is a clear timeline, showing the warts and successes of the varied politicians, although most of the new information was about harsh choices they made (women betraying African-Americans, and vice versa), which was a bit depressing. In a good way -- that meant the book was doing its job!

The Faithful Spy, John Hendrix. YA Cybils history book. This is almost a graphic novel -- it uses a lot of drawings, typography and images to convey the information, which makes it appealing. As an amateur, YA history often feels like watered down nonfiction to me, and as a high schooler (a high achieving one) I just went straight for regular nonfiction. In this case the author/designer is appealing more directly to the high school audience in a powerful way. Despite having read a biography of Benhoffer for last year, this felt fresh and powerful to me.

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends, Nancy Kress. This is a great instruction book for a beginner writer, which maybe I'll be someday. It encourages a look at what you want your prose to do, how to see what it is actually doing, and ways to help yourself make sure these things line up, all written in a clear and encouraging manner, including some exercises to do to apply the ideas to your work.


Bookmarks Moved In:

Son of the Black Sword (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, #1)Cyteen (Cyteen, #1-3)Tell the Wolves I'm Home
The Way Into Darkness  (The Great Way #3)Stories of My LifeThe Last Unicorn


Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia. 50/? Baen's podcast serial. Lots of people died. This is not unusual in this book, and I'm a little sad that it's harder to skim the gross bits on audio.

Cyteen, C.J. Cherryh. Reread. Still creeping through my least favorite part of the reread. Grant is getting himself in trouble, on Justin's immature plan. We are seeing the horrors of the azi system.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt. Sisters being good to each other, which was apparently much more common in my life than in most literature, so I'm always glad to see it.

The Way Into Darkness, Harry Connolly. And they are zipping around again, with plans for the End Game!

Stories of My Life, Katherine Paterson. 5-6/7 Discs. Library Quest audio that I'm enjoying. It matches up in time with Inn of the Sixth Happiness so I get two looks at pre-WWII China, and it gives a good view of an intelligent woman who embraces the life of wife and mother (and famous author). Right now we see the birth and adoption of her four kids.

The Last Unicorn, Peter Beagle. The June Sword and Laser pick. I'm still dealing with the sadness of the thing Schmendrink did to the unicorn to save her.



Picture Books (Lots this week!):

The Whole Wide World and MeMaggie McGillicuddy's Eye for TroubleBaby Boo, I Love YouWhat Do You Do with an Idea?

The Whole Wide World and Me, Toni Yuli. This was really good. I'm putting it on my Cybils nomination list. It was recommended to me by one of the guys who hang around the library so I took it so I would seem friendly and he was right -- it's a great book. The pictures and words work together to give a sense that we are all part of the world and the world is part of us, and we are small and we are mighty.

Maggie McGillicuddy's Eye For Trouble, Susan Hughes. This would be a fun book to share with kids. I liked the intergenerational friendship and the emphasis on imagination, and the kids would like being in on the joke and the patterns established and then tweaked.

Baby Boo I LOVE YOU, Sheryl Haft. Sweet book about a girl who likes her doll. Cosy.

What Do You Do With an Idea?, Kobi Yamada. This seemed to be mostly talking past the kids to the adults reading it, but it's a nice little allegory of an idea as an egg that a kid eventually hatches after a few struggles of the metaphoric kind.

In Your HandsLove Monster and the Scary SomethingThe Dragon TribeMad At Mommy


In Your Hands, Carole Boston Weatherford. This is one of those watercolor swirls about the love for a child as he grows and moves off on his own, but with the extra shadows of racism that threaten the child. Lovely and a bit sad.

Love Monster and the Scary Something, Rachel Bright. I think this works better if you already know the Love Monster character -- I think there's a series? But for me it was rather paint-by-numbers: fear, friendship, rejoice.

The Dragon Tribe, Kim Xiong. I was completely distracted from this legend about dragon killers becoming dragon-huggers by concerns about the biology of the villagers. The children all seem sexless, although they mark their age by their beards. Maybe they reproduce by budding?

Mad at Mommy, Kamako Sakia. A preschool rabbit throws a tantrum. Mom is not fussed.

Dad's First DayNight OutThe Little BarbarianThe Name Jar

Dad's First Day, Mike Wohnoutka. Reverse story where a dad is the one nervous about the son's first day of school. Even funnier to think that it probably rings true for some overinvested parents. Not me, of course. I was cool.

Night Out, Daniel Miyares. Lovely detailed illustrations show a boy on an midnight adventure involving his pet turtle and wild dancing critters, although the emotional story of a lonely boy opening up and making friends is also clear.

The Little Barbarian, Renato Moriconi. Spoiler -- it's a carousel ride! Which is why the static nature of the horse and rider is a feature, not a defect. And the child at the end is the best part -- the true little barbarian.

The Name Jar, Yangsook Choi. Friendly story about a girl who moves internationally to a welcoming multicultural neighborhood and makes friends while learning that it's OK to be herself.

Palate Cleansers

These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)Sammy Keyes and the Art of DeceptionThe Inn of the Sixth HappinessThe Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeCookieReading and Learning to Read

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.

Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception, Wendelin Van Draanen.

Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Alan Burgess. I keep picturing another little missionary -- the tiny child Katherine Paterson (not Paterson yet) who is in another part of China for this part.

The Educated Child, William Bennett. I finished the Preschool Chapter smug in how educated my boys were before the age of five.

Cookie, Jacqueline Wilson.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. It's quaint to see the eager ideas of incorporating this "internet" thing into writing and reading lessons.

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils 2017.  No progress
  2. Cybils 2018. Finished two of the YA nonfiction, started a third.
  3. Reading My Library. Enjoying Stories of My Life, which I think is the last audio CD. Haven't started the next print book.
  4. KCLS Ten to Try. Still need to read a poetry book and the librarian recommend.
  5. The Hunt Is On!  Four books, but all from within my house and two from my TBR bookcase. Which is supposed to be the point. so go me!