Monday, February 19, 2018

Grown Up Stuff Is Hard

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I'm doing some complicated stuff and it makes my head hurt.

I also saw Black Panther and The Post, which I enjoyed. And we opened Pandemic Legacy: Season Two in an attempt to save the world. Again.

My stack of last year's Cybils books is now off my library shelf and all in my currently-reading pile! Progress! Currently Reading is around hovering around 32 as a result of me starting so many of them, but it can only go down from here, right?

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 join in there. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed at either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers. All my Cybils reading keeps me very eligible for that.

This Week I started:
The Goblin's Puzzle: The Adventures of a Boy With No Name and Two Girls Called AliceDead Heat (Alpha & Omega #4)Secrets in Death (In Death, #45)Some Kind of Happiness
The Left Hand of DarknessArabella and the Battle of Venus (Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2)The Evil Wizard SmallboneSave Me a Seat

The Goblin's Puzzle, Andrew Chilton. Cybils middle grade.

Dead Heat, Patricia Briggs. A reread. The next one comes out next month.

Secrets in Death, J.D. Robb. A grab from the library Quick Picks shelf.

Some Kind of Happiness, Claire Legrand. Cybils middle grade.

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula LeGuin. For Tuesday book club. Belatedly.

Arabella and the Battle of Venus, David Levine. Because I liked the first one.

The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman. Cybils middle grade.

Save Me a Seat, Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadaragan. Cybils middle grade.

I finished:

Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega #4)BeastSecrets in Death (In Death, #45)When the Sea Turned to Silver
This Is Where It EndsSave Me a SeatIn the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives
TrashedThe Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely HeroRadioactive!: How Irène Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World

Dead Heat, Patricia Briggs. A reread. I misjudged a bit, because now I'm ready to read the next one, but it doesn't come out until March. I like reading about Anna and Charles, and how the price of life is death but joy is worth the sorrow. Fun urban fantasy stuff.

Beast, Bria Spangler. Cybils. The cover text made this sound like it was about a boy who discovers his girlfriend is transgender. That happens, and he doesn't handle it well, but that's only a small part of what Beast is dealing with -- his own body dysphoria as he desperately hopes for a cure for his growth, his relationship with his dead dad that almost poisons his chances with Jamie, his relationship with his best friend who may have been only using him for the past ten years.

Secrets in Death, J.D. Robb. The victim is the bad guy, which is a nice change of pace and also means that the number of gruesome crime scenes is limited. I'm a bit alarmed at hints that Eve and Roarke are possible parents, which seems an unlikely development.

When the Sea Turned to Silver, Grace Lin. Cybils middle grade. Reading this instead of listening it made me more willing to accept that the kids' main quest was to give the evil emperor a powerful magic token, which seemed a bad idea. This time around it was easier to sympathize with kids just trying to save their family. And the illustrations are charming.

this is where it ends, Marieke Nijkamp. Cybils YA. Wow, talk about topical. This is the story of a boy who goes back to his high school and shoots dozens of students and teachers, including his sister and himself. I read most of it in a day, and then saw the news about the Florida massacre.

Save Me a Seat, 
Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadaragan. Cybils middle grade. Fast story of two fifth graders who overcome initial misunderstandings through a shared wariness of the class bully. The kids are maybe a bit too introspective, but the final scene with leeches made everything worth while.

In the Shadow of Liberty, Kenneth Davis. Cybils NF. Davis is the author of the popular My Teacher Never Told Me history books, so I expected the good writing that I found. I found the discussions of the difficulty of knowing what was happening beyond the limelight fascinating; sometimes there were scraps, sometimes less than that. I found the careful language a bit distracting; the modern preference for adjectives over nouns doesn't seem that profound to me ("enslaved person" vs "slave").

Trashed, Derf Backderf. Cybils graphic novel. I liked the mix of fiction and facts, where we follow a young college dropout turned trash collector but take breaks to see what Backderf has researched about the garbage industry's seamy underside or history or misconceptions. I found the narrator rather unsympathetic; he seemed shallow and selfish so I never really cared about his life beyond how he illustrated small town garbage services.

The Plot to Kill Hitler, Patricia McCormick. Cybils nonfiction. This biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer looks at another slice of World War II, as religious leaders grapple with (and sometimes accomodate or encourage) Hitler and his Nazi party. Bonhoeffer spent some time in America and was interested in civil rights; some of the people I saw in other history books this year would have read his sermons. I found the end a bit muddled as McCormick struggles to keep his history and the end of the war distinct.

Radioactive!: How Irene Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World, Winifred Conkling. Cybils nonfiction. Biographies of two scientists doing Nobel worthy work right before (and during, and after) World War II. Why Meitner was never awarded a Nobel is a topic that is covered, by the way. Interesting science, new insights into history, but the two stories didn't naturally fit together as the women didn't really work together.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)The Voyage to Magical North (The Accidental Pirates, #1)Potions and Pastries (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #7)London Rain (Josephine Tey #6)
Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically MindedFull of BeansGame Change

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Episode 37. Looks like the entire AI team was suckered.

Voyage to Magical North, Claire Fayers. Cybils middle grade. I like the tentacles.

Potions and Pastries, Bailey Cates. I'm not really seeing a mystery here. OK, I mean someone died, but I'm not sure why our hero is investigating.

London Rain, Nicola Upson. Audio book. I chose this one because Josephine Tey sounded familiar, but it's a fictional mystery novel about the writer Josephine Tey. Once again I'm coming at this from a very odd angle, as I haven't ready any actual Josephine Tey books.

Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded, Sage Blackwood. A snake in one's brain is a very vivid metaphor.

Full of Beans, Jennifer Holm. There is a lot of talk of people's bottoms in this book set in Florida during the depression.

Game Change, Joseph Monninger. Oddly I find myself wishing there was more football and less probing of emotional shades.

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

KenilworthA Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenSammy Keyes and the Art of DeceptionChange of Heart (Robyn Hunter, #7)Reading and Learning to Read

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

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

Change of Heart
, Norah McClintock.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2018 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2017! 5/104-ish. Working on a middle grade fantasy. Also read a board book, and it was the right one.
  2. Cybils 2016!  90/107-ish. Actually, more, but my records aren't all updated yet.
  3. Reading My Library: Working on London Rain which I'm enjoying for the history (it's set at King George 6's coronation). Plugging away at Potions and Pastries.
  4. Where Am I Reading 2018?: 15/51. Picked up New Jersey, Arizona and Oregon, and I have bookmarks in Florida and Georgia.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Weekend Shenanigans

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I got distracted by a Goodreads reading team and read a few quick picks to gain some points for them. And I continued starting all the Cybils so I feel like I'm making progress.

I went over to Vashon Island to visit my brother and his wife, and scored some excellent gingerbread. Yum! I must remember to go there more often.

I can now almost fit my stack of last year's Cybils books into my library shelf  -- progress! Currently Reading is around hovering around 32 as a result of me starting so many of them.

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 but it's too late to sign up, although I'll check some of the posts. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed at either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers.

This Week I started:
Between the World and MeDiscount Armageddon (InCryptid, #1)Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically MindedPotions and Pastries (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #7)
Game ChangeMrs. Pollifax on Safari (Mrs. Pollifax, #5)Full of BeansLondon Rain (Josephine Tey #6)The Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3)

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates. For my Across-the-Aisles book club.

Discount Armageddon, Seanan McGuire. I approach this with more enthusiasm because now I've met McGuire and heard her discuss cryptids and biology.

Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded, Sage Blackwood. A Cybil for this year.

Potions and Pastries, Bailey Cates. My next Reading My Library book

Game Change, Joseph Monninger. Recommended by a friend.

Mrs. Pollifax on Safari, Dorothy Gilman. Reread because I've acquired the book.

this is where it ends, Marieke Nijkamp. Cybils YA.

Full of Beans, Jennifer Holm. Cybils middle grade.

London Rain, Nicola Upson. Audio Reading My Library book.

The Body in the Library, Agatha Christie. Reread.

I finished:
Fashion Rebels: Style Icons Who Changed the World through FashionBetween the World and MeShadow Magic  (Shadow Magic, #1)The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)
Mrs. Pollifax on Safari (Mrs. Pollifax, #5)Discount Armageddon (InCryptid, #1)BookedThe Body in the Library (Miss Marple #3)

Fashion Rebels, Carlyn Beccia. Cybils nonfiction. Individual short chapters on various influential people were often interesting, but the overall idea that fashion changes the world wasn't really sustained. If I hadn't scored as an Ellen Degeneres (comfort over looks) on the style guide I probably would have appreciated the how-to and fashion idea pages more.

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates. For my Across-the-Aisles book club. Sadly, this was probably the last meeting, but at least we went out on a powerful book. The sense of helplessness felt by Coates was viscerally portrayed. If he really expected his son to read this, that boy is highly literate.

Shadow Magic, Joshua Khan. Cybils middle grade fantasy. Fast moving, well defined characters, sharply defined setting -- this book hits all the right notes. There's a bit under the hood in terms of questioning world views and expectations, but not so much to make it seem stodgy. I thought some hints of romance were shoved in, but that's probably me being oversensitive. Fun read.

The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion. A Reading My Library audio. I enjoyed Don's voice and perspective, although I felt he wasn't always consistent about what he knew and what he claimed to understand. It was usually worth it for the sake of the story, though.

Mrs. Pollifax on Safari
, Dorothy Gilman. Reread because I've acquired the book. As a reread, I could ignore the plot (I vaguely remembered bits of it, enough to know who didn't do it) and appreciated the language more. So far these hold up to a second round.

Discount Armageddon, Seanan McGuire. I enjoyed this, although the protagonist was painfully young and enthusiastic about so many things. I felt very old. I will look out for others in this world.

Booked, Kwame Alexander. Cybils poetry. A boy writes poems about his eighth grade year, in which his parents split up, he tries to get a girlfriend, and he misses a soccer tournament. The poems pushed me to a remove from the boy, since they didn't seem like the kind of thing he'd write himself. My aversion to verse novels continues to stand between me and these books.

The Body in the Library, Agatha Christie. Reread. Miss Marple has seen it all, and recognizes when she sees it again. It's fun to watch her take apart all the condescending young things, and it's fun to watch Christie playing with detective novel tropes.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)BeastThe Voyage to Magical North (The Accidental Pirates, #1)When the Sea Turned to Silver


Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Episode 37. I like this narrator more on 1.5 speed, which is a bit unusual But this is a rather slow moving story, so speeding things up keeps me listening better.

Beast, Bria Spangler. I hadn't realized Beast meant that stuff about talking to (and listening for) his dead father so literally. Even without looking at him I forget how young he really is sometimes.

Voyage to Magical North, 
Claire Fayers. Cybils middle grade.These kids need to start working together.

When the Sea Turned to Silver, Grace Lin. Cybils middle grade. It's fun reading the book when I listened to the audio last year. Grace Lin's illustrations are well worth the double dipping.

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

KenilworthA Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenSammy Keyes and the Art of DeceptionChange of Heart (Robyn Hunter, #7)Reading and Learning to Read

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George. So far I feel like everyone in this book is kind of bad; I don't want to start to like anyone but it isn't hard to avoid.

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

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

Change of Heart
, Norah McClintock.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2018 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2017! 4/104-ish. I started the next one. Also read a board book, but it was the wrong one.
  2. Cybils 2016!  88/107-ish. Getting closer, slowly.
  3. Reading My Library: Finished The Rosie Project, started London Rain so I'm in the Us for audio. Started Potions and Pastries.
  4. Where Am I Reading 2018?: 12/51. No new states, but I did hit Africa and Australia, so that's good.