Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Grace H. Kaiser's memoir Dr. Frau casually describes a time and place radically different from my own. She was a woman doctor in the 50's, when that was an unusual and often unappreciated female role. She made house calls, including many home births for Amish, Mennonite, or just anti-hospital families. She married and had four kids, while running her medical office out of her house and juggling the timing for the births among office hours, cooking meals, and home repair. It's a fascinating glimpse into the world of the Amish, where children weren't told about pregnancy so the mothers stayed quiet while birthing, as well as the world of a doctor fifty years ago, when babies weren't fed for twelve hours after birth but doctors drove through snow and floods to attend the mother. The foreword warns that it is highly fictionalized, since doctors aren't really supposed to attend and tell, but I hope the spirit is still accurate. Fun read; I wish I remembered where I heard about it.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Barbara O'Connor's The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis is another Cybil's book, from the kidlit blog awards. It's a slim book about a boy, Popeye, who earned his nickname when his loser uncle accidentally knocked out his eye with a BB gun. Popeye is a bit timid and bored, and when Elvis and his noisy family arrive in an enormous camper, he's delighted to find a new friend. Both boys eagerly embrace the tiny mystery of the boats they find in the creek, and they have just enough time to solve the puzzle and push Popeye's boundaries open a little bit. It's a cozy read that I'll offer to my kids, especially the one who has been giving himself nightmares with more bloodthirsty fare. B
Sunday, April 25, 2010
- The Ages of Chaos, Marion Zimmier Bradley. Darkover book recommended by Jo Walton.
- Hanging Out With Cici, Francine Pascal, for a challenge
- First Drop of Crimson, Jeaniene Frost. I think this is a fluffy sexy vampire book.
- The Pro-Child Way: Parenting With an Ex, Ellen Kellner. How to be nice.
- And Falling, Fly, Skyler White. Not so fluffy vampire book.
- The Firelings, Carol Kendall. The volcano awakes. Timely, eh?
- How To Teach Physics To Your Dog, Chad Orzel.
- Marriage and Other Acts of Charity, Kate Braestrup
- Key to Rondo, Emily Rodda. Was supposed to be my K book. Hm, I have no L book ready either.
- Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis, Barbara O'Connor.
- Dr. Frau, Grace H. Kaiser. Doctor for the Amish.
- Whatever it was I turned in on Thursday. So it was heavy, whatever it was.
Well, I turned in lots of stuff, and checked out less. So that was a win. I can't remember what my Spring Challenge is, and this is Screen Turn-off Week for us (postponed from last week due to illness). I can't look up anything on my blog, and there will be even less linking than usual. I had to get Special Dispensations to publish anything at all. We can all be grateful, although please do not comment on whether you are grateful I can put up anything at all, or that my posting will be limited by more than my innate sloth.
- Steering the Craft, Ursula LeGuin, more essays, this time apparently all on how to write.
- Genesis, Bernard Beckett. SF book about a doctoral thesis, I believe.
- Ender's Shadow: Command School. My son and my brother have both already read this graphic book. My copy, I mean. I make my books wait their turn.
- The First Part Last, Angela Johnson. Teen-dad book I've seen recommended all over.
- Domestic Arrangements, Norma Klein. I'd better get my Shelf Discovery Challenge posts written; I'd be done if I were caught up.
- Snakehead, Anthony Horowitz. Alex Rider does something incredible.
- Changeless, Gail Carriger. Another 2nd book. I'd better sign up for the challenge before I finish it.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Elizabeth Moon writes fantasy and science fiction of the competence-porn variety; her characters tend to spend pages developing skills and rewarding competence. It grounds even her fluffier books with a strong sense of reality, whether the characters are rich clowns in space or sheep farmers turned fighters in a D&D style landscape. Her Deed of Paksennarrion is the sheep farmer story, infused with the sense that Moon probably does know how to train up recruits into an effective mercenary force.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Dang nab it, I forgot it was Wednesday. I almost started my K book just now, but remembered my 8AM meeting. I'll just be late.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Ursula LeGuin knows about delicious words, and how to put them together into a satisfying meal. When I reintroduced chapter books into bedtime this year, I did it with my favorite books; her Wizard of Earthsea was the second book I read and it cemented the boys' love of this routine. Her fiction is still on my "grab on sight" list, but I also enjoy her essays about writing, either her own writing or other people's books. I stumbled across a little volume made up mostly of speeches she gave to various book-related places, so I ordered it from my library and had some delightful reading about the importance of words, of story, of imagination.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The title of Rain Is Not My Indian Name made me anticipate a book about fitting in as a Native American in a mainly white school, but in fact that is a minor thread in Cynthia Leitich Smith's book about a girl recovering from the death of her best friend. Rain is just emerging from her deep grief to notice the world around her -- her aunt running an "Indian Camp" that she decides to photograph rather than participate in, her brother and his girlfriend dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, her father's overseas deployment keeping him distant, the friends she backed away from after the death of Galen, the best friend who might have become a boyfriend if he had looked both ways before crossing the street last New Year's Eve.
Rain is an interesting young woman, slowly waking up from months of isolation, linking back to before the tragedy, looking slowly forward to the rest of the summer. The book wasn't what I thought it would be, but it stood up on its own. I'll be looking for other work by this author. B.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
My shiny new hold shelf offered up:
- The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan. This is a reread because I went to buy it, and the paperback doesn't come out for two weeks! Humph. The 2nd book is due out soon after that.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemna, Trenton Lee Stewart. This has already be absconded by X.
- The Hiccopatamus, Aaron Zenz. This picture book is by the author of a great blog, Bookie Woogie.
- Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper. I've seen this kidlit recommended several times.
- Pleasure of a Dark Prince, Kresley Cole. Vampire porn. 'Nuf said. :-)
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Neil Shubin's book about tracing the history of our bodies back to single-celled microbes shows a beautiful and enduring vision of humanity and all its relatives. Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body starts with a personal account of an expedition that found fossils of Tiktaalik, an animal midway between a fish and a terrestrial animal. Shubin describes the differences in head type (flat vs conical), and points out how the bones of fins morph into the big bone -- two bones -- lots of blobs structure of land-living limbs.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A great place to get kidlit recommendations from is the Cybils, a kidlit blogger book award program. That's where I heard about Graceling and Boy Toy and other powerful books. I'm slowing working through this year's list of winners and finalists, and that's how I read Heart of a Shepherd, by Rosanne Parry, which I loved.
Monday, April 12, 2010
- Scorpia, Anthony Horowitz (due tomorrow). Alex Rider joins the bad guys!
- Hanging Out With Cici, Francine Pascal, for a challenge
- Your Inner Fish, Neil Shubin. Paleontologist looks at what fossils say about you. Well, about me.
- Smart But Scattered, Peg Dawson. Actually, I like this enough that I'm returning my borrowed copy and getting my own so my kids and I can write all over the exercises. I think we all need some executive function boosts.
- And Falling, Fly, Skyler White. Paranormal by a friend of a friend; looks good.
- The Prisoner, Carlos Cortez. They got out of the sewers, thank goodness. I was getting squeamish.
- How To Teach Physics To Your Dog, Chad Orzel. My cat thinks the dog is a doofus. Why chase a rabbit when canned food comes to you?
- Pioneer Woman Cooks, Ree Drummand. I'll read this slowly in the hopes of cooking some recipes.
- Enchanted Glass, Diana Wynne Jones. The postman hid this at my side door, so I didn't find it for days after delivery. Humph!
- Kris Longknife: Undaunted. Mike Shepherd. These books may be taking themselves too seriously, which would be a mistake.
- When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead. Nice little book that won the Newbery.
- Nasty Stinky Sneakers, Eve Bunting. Worst contest ever! Funny book.
- Son of the Mob: Hollywood Hustle, Gordon Korman. Cute, but the concept doesn't really stretch to two books.
- Echo in the Bone, Diane Gabaldon. I'm not so invested in the characters anymore, which is good because most of the plots are left hanging. Smooth read.
- NurtureShock, Po Bronson & um. Freakonomics for parents.
- Chameleon, Charles R. Smith. Raunchier and rawer boy coming into puberty book.
- Eagle Strike, Anthony Horowitz. Alex Rider on his own.
- Muslim Child, Rukhsana Khan. Short stories showing each of Islam's pillar through the lives of Muslim children.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
- How to Teach Physics To Your Dog. Chad Orzel. Which I was enjoying before the library demanded it back. I may recommend it to my book club, some of whom have dogs who may need remedial physics lessons.
- Wild Life, Molly Gloss. All Jo Walton's fault (from tor.com). Another reloot.
- Space Viking, H. Beam Piper. Also Jo Walton's fault, although it was Scalzi's news that made me remember that she recommended it.
The latest Newbery winner is When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead. This is a book about New York, about kids who understand time travel and kids who don't, about friendship and about winning game show strategies. It has many short chapters with intriguing titles, and feels like a very cosy read most of the time, with small worries and small puzzles, although the final confrontation ratchets up the adrenaline a bit. I really enjoyed it, although I'm not sure all kids would. The aftertaste was refreshing and clear.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I recently had a discussion with other moms about our kids hitting puberty, and I mentioned the possibility of leaving Judy Blume's Then Again Maybe I Won't around if I thought my son was in need of information he no longer wanted to get from his mom. Well, now I've found a book that covers the same information, but in a much rawer form. Charles R. Smith Jr.'s Chameleon follows a boy in the summer before he starts high school, as he hangs with his friends and ramps up the puberty slope.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Laurell K. Hamilton's latest Anita book is Flirt, which the library delivered to me last week. It's a quick read, with an essay at the end describing how the book came about. I found that fascinating.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I'm still reading 90% library books, but I'm looking at some of my home library as well. Which is good, because the piles of books in my bedroom are getting a bit hazardous to my health. I started clearing them up, which helped me locate the lost library book, just in time to notice that I've lost two picture books. Hmm.
- Eagle Strike, Anthony Horowitz. My son has already finished this series, so I'd better hurry up here.
- NurtureShock, Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman. One of the non-renewables. I'm enjoying this kind of freakonomics for parenting book.
- The Prisoner, Carlos J Cortes. I think Jo Walton recommended this on tor.com. Although I don't think she's read it -- I think it was from an award list. Pretty good so far, but also all action.
- An Echo In the Bone, Diana Gabaldon. A chunkster that I shouldn't have checked out yet. Good airport reading while I waited for my sons' plane to take off.
- Chameleon, Charles R. Smith, Jr. YA book about Black boys that I've just started.
- And Falling, Fly, Skyler White. Written by a friend of a friend, so I hope I like it.
- Kris Longknife: Undaunted, Mike Shepherd. The Longknife books are getting a bit creaky, but I still enjoy them. This is MY book.
- Blaze of Memory, by Nalini Singh. I didn't buy the relationship, and I found the plotting silly.
- Alex and Me, Irene M. Pepperberg. A woman and her parrot --for SCIENCE. Well, not really science. Science is icky.
- Spellbent, Lucy A. Snyder. Fairly fun.
- Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson. Famous book. Depressing. Silly paranormal twist.
- The Year of the Bomb, Ronald Kidd. Strong sense of place, with a protagonist I found unconvincingly sensitive.
- The Mark of the Demon, Diane Rowland. Second in the series, decent read.
- Irreligion, by John Paulos. Short defense of the rational approach to the supernatural.
- Enigma, C.F. Bentley. Second in a series, but I never read the first. Interesting space story.
- Banana Heart Summer, Merlinda Bobis. Philippian story of growing up. I find books with abusive mothers very hard to read, but the writing was delicious.
- Don't Hurt Laurie, Willo Davis Roberts. See above, but without the tasty writing.
- Into the Tangle of Friendship, Beth Kephart. Engrossing memoir about relationships and parenting.
- Dazzle of Day, Molly Gloss. Quakers in SPAAAAACE.
- Flirt, Laurell K. Hamilton. Silly story, pasted onto a silly anecdote. Not as much about flirting as Hamilton seems to think.