Tuesday, January 16, 2018

College Kid Gone

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Well, I dropped my oldest boy back off at college. I can't even pretend there's any Christmas left. It was a fun drive with him, and then a dinner out, but he got in early enough that I couldn't force him to round up any friends for me to meet.

Now I've got to make sure everything is ready for FOOLSCAP since I'm in charge of the convention this year. Everyone should come!

I still have piles of last years Cybils, some started and some just glaring at me. Currently Reading is around 30 as a result.

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 that I'm going to sign up for. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed.  I'll go look to see what everyone else was reading at either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers.

This Week I started:

Ghost (Track, #1)Another Place in TimeBenedict Hall
Shrill: Notes from a Loud WomanThe Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha (A Chocoholic Mystery, #16)Frankenstein : Original 1818 Uncensored Version

Ghost, Jason Reynolds. Cybils middle grade.

Another Place in Time, ed. Tamara Allen. Recommended by Goodreads.

Benedict Hall, Cate Campbell. Next Reading My Library book.

Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, Lindy West. For my Feminist Book Club.

The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha, Joanna Carl. The next Reading My Library book. I haven't finished the previous one, but this looks like a fast read and that does not.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. My Tuesday Night Book club and Sword & Laser are both reading this.

I finished:

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American RightGhost (Track, #1)A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #1)Treasured by Thursday (The Weekday Brides, #7)
Another Place in TimeLucky PennyThe Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha (A Chocoholic Mystery, #16)Ms. Bixby's Last Day

Strangers In Their Own Land, Arlie Hochschild. I finished it in time for the Across the Aisles book club, which we actually had three people show up for! Hope springs eternal. We were all Democrats but we could argue respectfully with the book, which worked out all right.

Ghost, Jason Reynolds. Cybils middle grade. Wow, another book about running that I liked -- the Cybils books can work miracles! Hard-luck kid stumbles onto an elite track team, but has to prove he can follow the rules enough to stay in, even when some of the rules seem to block his progress. Good voice, reasonable problems, and a good variety of adults, both helpful and otherwise.

A Promise of Fire, Amanda Bouchet. OK, the guy kidnapping the girl is a trope I can sorta live with -- he does it for political reasons, not just because he thinks she's hot. But when Griffon and his friends constantly laugh at Cat for objecting to being kidnapped, or outright berate her for not trusting her captors instantly, I don't find them friendly and when Cat falls in love with him I'm just sickened. Especially since he never respects her and constantly overrides all her decisions, often with no justification. Even the fun Greek background and terms like Hoi Polloi could not reconcile me to the characters.

Treasured By Thursday, Catherine Bybee. The hero in this romance also coerces the heroine into a relationship, which made it a bad partner to Promise of Fire as two versions of this trope is too many. But in this case the guy never claims it's a good thing, or that she shouldn't be upset about it, and in fact ends up apologizing. So he looks good. He's also a billionaire with an evil twin, so he's easy to forgive. By the way, is it really illegal to agree to "pull the plug" on someone if you are the beneficiary of their life insurance policy?

Another Place in Time
, ed. Tamara Allen. Recommended by Goodreads. Short stories set in various historical periods with a M/M romance in them. The introduction enthuses about reinforcing the idea that these relationships existed throughout time and allow people to identify with history, which gave an erudite feeling even when a few of the stories didn't really please me. The KJ Charles is a fun story but mostly about sex, which doesn't usually make me feel intellectual. Some others had fun history details (office work after WWI) but not much of a story. Not bad but not great overall.

Lucky Penny, Ananth Hirsh. Cybils Graphic Novel. I'm too old to enjoy this story of a new adult who hasn't really mastered the adulting part yet; the reality bits stressed me too much to enjoy the near-fantasy portions. The pictures were sharp and I only occasionally got confused.

The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha, Joanna Carl. I was right about this being a fast read -- a cosy murder mystery in a chocolate factory in a small Michigan town. I liked the characters and the setting -- with a tourist town you can have lots of murders without decimating the neighborhood. And I spotted the bad guy, which made me feel clever.

Ms Bixby's Last Day, John David Anderson. Cybils MG. The kids rally with a bit of good luck and a bit of family affection, and they manage to give their teacher one last good day. It's a good story with independent kids getting stuff done while skating the edge of danger.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)The HomesmanThe Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century
The Serpent KingTrashed

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Episode 32. The Captain is doing better, Daav may believe in his wife, and Shan may manage to have a conversation with his daughter without accidentally traumatizing her.

The Homesman, Glendon Swarthout. A Reading My Library audio. Yep, it got dumb. The main character, the only one with any depth to her character, is gone, and we are left with flat caricatures. For the last 2/7 of the book. This does not make for interesting listening. Oh well, at least it takes place in Nebraska.

The Borden Murders, 
Sarah Miller. Cybils Non-Fiction. Having been influenced by Cherie Priests take on this, I'm rooting for Lizzie. Which is odd, because in the Priest horror version, she did do it.

The Serpent King, Jeff Zentner. Cybils YA. I'm not sure whether to hope the girl gets into her chosen college or not. I'm not sure I like those online friends of hers.

Trashed, Derf Backderf. The history of trash and the hard life of a college drop out.

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 DeceptionReading 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.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2018 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2017! 2/104-ish. I have received the first few from the library.
  2. Cybils 2016!  74/107-ish. Knocked off another graphic novel and two middle grades. Pushed ahead in some others.
  3. Reading My Library: Have pushed through to the last disk of The Homesman.  Finished two books (Treasured by Thursday and The Chocolate Brouhaha)  and made deadway in Benedict Hall.
  4. Where Am I Reading 2017?: 5/51. Added Louisiana and Connecticut. And Michigan. I have Massachusetts and Tennessee (I think) and Nebraska in progress.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

KCLS Challenge: Ten to Try 2018

My local library system, KCLS, has again hosted their 10 To Try Reading Challenge, with bookmarks and posters and sign ups. And since I'm all about the library, I'm signed up.

This year the Chosen Ten are:

  • Read a Biography or Memoir.
  • Read a Book about Food. 
  • Read a Book Recommended by KCLS Staff. 
  • Read a Banned Book. 
  • Read a Book Set in a Place You’ve Never Been. The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha, Joanna Carl 1/13/18
  • Read a Book with a Title Longer Than 4 Words.  Strangers in Their Own Land, Arlie Hochschild 1/8/2018
  • Read a Young Adult Book. 
  • Read a Book by a Native American Author. 
  • Read a Book in Translation. 
  • Read a Book That’s Been Made into a Movie or TV Show. The Homesman, Glendon Swarthout 1/15/18
Greenbook

Monday, January 8, 2018

They Are Prying Christmas From My Cold Hands

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
All right, I have put away many of the Christmas decorations. The stockings are stuff in a box with care, the fancy laser lights no longer decorate my ceiling through the blinds, the decorations the kids made in preschool are off the windows.

The wreath is still on the door. I'm contemplating getting a wreath box for it, but that means measuring it. Also a few of the decorative mugs have candy in them, so I have to deal with that before stuffing them away. And I need the tall boy to take off the last of the outside tree decorations. Then the best holiday will officially be over and the long dreary winter can march on into the distance, unwelcome and unending. Rah!

This weekend was my friendly book club, and as is traditional in January we watched a movie. We picked Murder on the Orient Express, the old one, and then I had brought along the BBC series version so we watched the end of that as well. It was fun to compare what we liked and what was effective across all versions (most of us had also seen the current version as well). Next month we reading Seanan McGuire's Discount Armageddon, because she's the guest of honor at FOOLSCAP and I'm the captain of that this year.

I still have piles of last years Cybils, some started and some just glaring at me. The library tells me that the first of next year's are waiting for me. Currently Reading is around 31 as a result.

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 that I'm going to sign up for. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed.  I'll go look to see what everyone else was reading at either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers.

This Week I started:

Charmed and DangerousThe Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the CenturyA History of Murder (An Old Maids of Mercer Island Mystery #3)Lucky Penny

Charmed and Dangerous, edited by Jordan Price. This anthology has a story by KJ Charles, whose books I always enjoy, so I thought I'd see who she sits in company with.

The Borden Murders, Sarah Miller. Cybils Non-Fiction.

A History of Murder, Lynn Bohart. My sister met this author a while back.

Lucky Penny, Ananth Hirsh. Cybils Graphic Novel.

I finished:

Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil RightsForged in BloodFaith, Volume 1: Hollywood & Vine
Charmed and DangerousA History of Murder (An Old Maids of Mercer Island Mystery #3)

Blood Brother, Rich Wallace & Sandra Neil Wallace. Cybils NonFiction. The big pages gave lots of room for text and pictures, although sometimes the bold colors of the pages made it hard to decipher the type. It was interesting to compare the chapters on Selma and voter registration with March which I read last week. It's an interesting take on a short life interrupted by racial hate. I find it easier to be interested in the people who grew up in the area than the ones who came down from the North, but the authors managed to ground this guy enough.

Forged In Blood, ed. Michael Z. Williamson. It's fun to see other people play in a known universe, especially with the theme of a battle-thirsty sword tying them together. Nice to know that even into the future some problems can be solved by a sharp blade. Makes me wonder if the alien stuff with show up in Williamson's Freehold books.

Faith
, Jody Houser. Cybils YA Graphic Novel. It's always a pleasure for me to read a comic book in which I don't get all the characters confused. It helps that these people have diverse racial features and body types. And I liked the mix of super-hero problems (plant-people aliens taking over the world) and mundane issues (boring job, high rents).

Charmed and Dangerous, edited by Jordan Price. I ended up liking all the stories, even the ones that took a few pages to lure me in. I think I'll try some more of Jordan Hawk's stuff, and maybe some of the others.

A History of Murder, 
Lynn Bohart. This was a cheerful story of some women a bit older than me running their businesses and solving crimes, although they have the advantage of helpful ghosts making themselves known when danger threatens. I think I'll pick up some of the author's other stuff; it's fun to read books so grounded in the area.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #1)Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American RightThe Homesman
Treasured by Thursday (The Weekday Brides, #7)The Serpent KingMs. Bixby's Last Day

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Episode 29-31. I'm a bit confused by listening to a podcast about the next book in the series; I have to remember what I'm not supposed to know yet.

A Promise of Fire, Amanda Bouchet. Vaginal Fantasy old pick. I really wish the author had left out the romance, which is awful. Kidnapping someone is not sexy. Everytime she "fights her attraction" I just want to get her into counseling -- why is she into a guy who abuses her? Does the author authentically not realize this is a problem? Stockholm syndrome is the opposite of hot!

Strangers In Their Own Land, Arlie Hochschild. This book does a good job (to me) of explaining the mind set and stories of Republicans. It's a shame that their convictions are based on lies instead of reality; I'm not quite open-minded enough to think that conclusions based on bad data are as valid as reality-based ones.

The Homesman
, Glendon Swarthout. A Reading My Library audio started on my drive home. I have spoiled myself by reading up on the ending, and I expect it to be awful. I'm already noticing how the author is twisting things around so that the characters don't seem real. We know whatever the guy does will turn out well, and any idea the lady has will be dumb.

Treasured By Thursday
, Catherine Bybee. My next RML book. I would have more patience with the "he blackmailed her into marriage, but love finds a way" plot if I weren't already reading a book about a guy who confuses coercion and consent in a deeply creepy way.

The Serpent King, Jeff Zentner. Cybils YA. I think this book is more about all three kids, not just the one with the snake-charming dad. I wonder what that means about the title.

Ms Bixby's Last Day, John David Anderson. Cybils MG. I hope we have reached the nadir of the kids' day, because things look pretty dire. I could weep for that cheese cake.

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 DeceptionReading and Learning to Read

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. Queen Elizabeth is Suspicious. What's her name is a ninny.

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

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

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. How vocabulary is built, and how to use that to make stories easier to access.

2018 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2017! 2/104-ish. I have ordered the first few from the library.
  2. Cybils 2016!  72/107-ish. Knocked off another graphic novel and a nonfiction. Pushed ahead in some others.
  3. Reading My Library: Have stalled on The Homesman after reading some reviews that indicate I will absolutely hate the ending. Started the next print book, Treasured by Thursday.
  4. Where Am I Reading 2017?: 2/51. Look how on-track I am this year. And I'm about to add Washington and Louisiana.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Where Am I Reading 2018?


I'm going to track where I'm reading again, although I admit in advance that I won't beat myself up if I miss a state. Or ten.

I found a blog hosting a challenge to do this, so I'll sign up so I can check out what other people are reading for tough states. Dollycas is hosting the 2018 Literary Escapes Challenge And I'm going to make a real effort to read the three states I missed two years in a row, and a bit of a push to read the ones I missed last year.




visited 4 states (8%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

The US: (states I missed last year are in bold)

Delaware:
North Dakota:
Utah: 

Alabama:
Alaska:
Arizona:
Arkansas: 
California: Faith, Treasured By Thursday
Colorado:
Connecticut: Ms Bixby's Last Day (I think) *
Florida:
Georgia:

Hawaii:
Idaho: 
Illinois:
Indiana:
Iowa: 
Kansas:
Kentucky: 
Louisiana: Strangers in Their Own Land
Maine: 
Maryland:

Massachusetts:
Michigan: The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha *
Minnesota:
Mississippi:
Missouri:
Montana:
Nebraska: The Homesman *
Nevada: 
New Hampshire: Blood Brother
New Jersey:  

New Mexico: 
New York:
North Carolina:
Ohio: 
Oklahoma: 
Oregon: 
Pennsylvania: 
Rhode Island: 
South Carolina: 

South Dakota: 

Tennessee: 
Texas:
Utah: 
Vermont: 
Virginia:
Washington: A History of Murder
West Virginia: 
Wisconsin
Wyoming: 

Washington D.C.: 

7/51

Continents: 0/7

Asia:

Africa:

South America:

Antarctica:

Oceania:

Europe:
England: Another Place in Time (2/5)

North America (non-US) :



Off Earth: 

Fantasy: A Promise of Fire

Space:  Forged in Blood

Other:


Setting Left Unmentioned:
Ghost