Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year! New Books Banned Again!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Blow the horns! Bang the pots! Fall into bed well before midnight! Oops... Anyway, a good New Year was had, even though I didn't win any of the games. The joy was in playing! Also, the prizes were hideous.

It's time for me to start acquiring new challenges to twist my reading along. I celebrated my First Book of at BookJourney's page (look closely -- I'm in there!)  I started my Cybils Finalist reading challenge and accidentally posted my start to the Where Are You Reading 50 States Challenge.

I'm also definitely doing the Triple Dog Dare of not getting new books for a few months. Nothing new until April, although I might buy the new Patricia Briggs and Bujold books just to help their numbers.

The Book Date is collecting the roundups of what everyone is reading and talking about this week. I'll also look in with Teach Mentor Texts which does the same thing for kidlit.

This week I finished seven books:

Parnell Hall. Well, our hero managed to pull himself out of the fire in the end, with a lot of luck and a little bit of thinking. I don't think I'll go back to see the other 18 books in this series, but it was not a painful read. Also, it counts for my Library Quest as well as giving me New Jersey for my 50 states.

The Cobweb, 
Neil Stevenson & J. Frederick George. The spy stuff was OK, but I really enjoyed the small town and farm culture, especially the bright local deputy who is comfortable being underestimated. Also, Iowa.

Summer Mahogany, Janet Dailey. I found this at the last minute when I needed a replacement Maine book, as my previous one was not actually set in Maine. This is an old school romance, complete with serious consent issues and some under-age ickiness. It was more interesting as a text reflecting its time than as a romance, since I felt the hero and heroine were terrible for each other. But at least it all happened in Maine! (And let me say once again, in Lolita, the child is not the villain. It's not a book about how sexy teenaged girls deserve whatever happens to them.)

Jeweled Fire, Sharon Shinn. I have to admit that I was secretly hoping that Corine would fall for someone else, because I thought the telegraphed romance was too obvious, but I also should admit that Shinn ended up selling the relationship to me. Also, you know how sometimes when an author puts a gun on the wall you sigh inwardly a bit? This did not happen -- instead I cheered as Shinn shot them all off. I liked the political scheming and how Corine was both seventeen but also good at it, and I liked her friends and how the women refused to fight against each other. These are books that make me feel better about humanity.

Twin Spica, Kou Yaginuma. My official first book of 2016! I started this manga series ages ago, but I've just gone back to it. I have an old fondness for astronaut books, and the main character is so short that I don't confuse her with other people very often (I'm TERRIBLE at graphic novels).

Silver City, Cliff McNish. This is a book from the Cybils 2006 list, since I finished the 2014 Cybils so early. At one book a year I won't make much headway on the older lists, but slow and sure, right? I found it a bit flat -- some nifty ideas and body transformations, but the kids didn't really make many decisions until the end; they just had vague impulses or compulsions that they obeyed. I don't think I'll search out the first or third books in the series.

How It Went Down, Kekla Magoon. My first Cybils read for the 2015 list, I found this interesting but not excruciating, even though it describes the shooting death of a black boy, in a plot clearly ripped from the headlines. Because the story is told from the viewpoints of so many people, some of them hostile or indifferent to the boy, there was a constant emotional distance from the tragedy. I'll see what my son thinks of it.

I browsed in the local library (with my reluctant nephew, who enjoyed several of these in spite of himself):

Captain Cat, Inga Moore. I liked the goofiness of the captain who adored cats so much that his trading suffered -- he'd give anything for another cat. And of course the ruler of the beautiful island he discovers is a small child, not her parents or any other adult figure. And the matter of fact way the captain put his cats' happiness ahead of his own endeared him to me. A fun, quick read.

Newbies, Peter Catalanotto. Somehow the drawings of the humans seemed slightly off to me, in that vaguely creepy way that near-misses have. But the delight of my nephew in the idea that new parents would just show up (he's the youngest in his family and has clearly not read as many prepare-for-the-new-sibling books as I have) reconciled me to the story. I enjoyed how casually the boy palmed off his old parents when the new ones showed up, and the didactic lesson (the real parents are better) went down easy.

Earrings!, Judith Viorst. This is an old book that floated to the top at my library, and several passages made that obvious, but Viorst's knack of speaking in fluid prose that sounds unerringly correct for a child made it a fun tale of impatience and desire.

The Stranded Whale, Jane Yolen. The illustrations and the words work together to make this powerful and strong. It's a hard truth that most whales won't survive being stranded, and I knew it from the first pictures of the giant beast on the sand, but the children struggle until the last minute to save the amazing creature. I'd have brought this home when my kids were little.

And I started a new book:

Tarzan Alive, Philip Jose Farmer. This is for my Tuesday book club, and I'm not sure how far I'm supposed to read. I read it before, many years ago, and I'm enjoying seeing the difference between young me and old me. It's a pseudo-documentary of Tarzan the Ape Man, earnestly discussing which parts Burroughs got wrong and where it fits in with the history of the world. I laughed out loud at the analysis of Tarzan's Zodiac sign.

Bookmarks Moved in books:

Under a Graveyard Sky (Blac...

I Lived on Butterfly Hill, Marjorie Agosin. She went to Maine, and then went back to Chile! It's a good thing I'm enjoying this book on its own merits, but I am. I really like the child's voice, and how it deepens as she grows older, and I'm looking forward to seeing how she settles back into her homeland.

The Heist, Janet Evanovich &  Lee Goldberg. Now that Kate and Nick are working together I'm finding it easier to relax into the story. I especially like when they misjudge each other in a non-embarrassing way.

Laura's Wolf, Lia Silver.  Well, they have discovered love. Now if only they can defeat the evil werewolf, they have a chance at happiness. Well, mutually supportive love, which is pretty dang close.

Republic, Lindsay Buroker. This is a pure pleasure read, because I've enjoyed the wild antics, sharp dialogue, and devious plot twists of her Aramanthe stories since my book club tried the first one. Now she's looking at what happens to the Empire after it gets a taste of democracy.

Under a Graveyard Sky, John Ringo. Now that my son and I have caught up to the Baen serialization of this story, we'll have to enjoy it one commute to school a week. I hope the political details of setting up a post-zombie apocalypse government are as entertaining as the zombie fighting.

Songs of Willow Frost, Jamie Ford. The orphan boy and his blind friend have escaped the orphanage and found his mother, but now I'm trapped in a flashback with his mom. Maybe I should start a rape tracker to count how many characters in books I read get raped on the page. So far I'm at 1.

The next few books I'm not really reading, just dipping into between the books I'm trying to finish so that I can pretend that I'm going to read the books on my bookcases.

Rob Roy  Waiting for the PartyA Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)Reading and Learning to Read

Rob Roy, Walter Scott. Our hero starts a fight in an inn, which turns out well for him.
The October Country, Ray Bradbury. If normal is rare, than it feels unnatural.
Waiting For the Party, Ann Thwaite. I hadn't realize how late The Little Princess was written.
A Traitor To Memory, Elizabeth George. More connections between the different stories.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca. Why fill-in-the-blank exercises can improve reading.

2015 Challenge Summary:
  1. Reading My Library: Endless. I'm currently on the second column of Large Print and the E's of audio.
  2. Where Am I Reading?: Completed! Go me!
  3. Award Winning Book Challenge: Well, I didn't really review anything, but so far I've got 16 awards.
  4. Book Riot Read Harder: 23/24. Never did get that African author, although several are on my to-read shelf.
  5. Alphabetically Inclined:  V X Z still missing. 23/26. I'll keep this around to inspire me to read from my shelves.
  6. Best of the Best 2012: 52/25.  I am stalled. Maybe time to go back?
  7. Cybils 2014: Complete! Looking forward to starting anew in 2016.
2015 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: First one down. Working on YA Fiction.
  2. Reading My Library: I finished Stakeout by Hall and am working on Songs of Willow Frost. I need to pick up the pace on The Heist.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: Japan, the UK, and Missouri.


Jane @ said...

I just can't bring myself to buy new books - I read so many, and so quickly, that I just can't justify the expense. Of course, I don't include books purchased from used book stores in this - I consider buying used books to be my contribution to the saving of the environment, since I'm reusing, recycling and reducing landfill least, that's what I tell myself.... ;)

Beth said...

Most of my books are from the library, and the Dare extends to those -- I can't get or request books. Given the current state of my library pile, this is a necessary discipline :-)

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Loved reading your little snippets about the books. :) The October Country is a favourite - I love how the unnatural is the norm. :)

Andrea said...

Wow! You have so many books going at once! I can have 2-3, but I would have a hard time with more than that. I haven't heard of a lot of the books on your list. I will definitely need to check some of them out. Have a great reading week!

Lindsey said...

Not buying new books is a serious challenge! I especially have trouble right after the holidays, when there are bookstore and some discretionary cash floating around. Good luck!

Hibernators Library said...

Wow. 7 books in a week. That's unbelievable. I'm jealous.

Elizabeth said...

Seven books in a week is amazing.

I do one book in seven days. :)

I see you have Songs of Willow was good, but I liked his first book better.

Happy Reading!!

Silver's Reviews
My It's Monday, What Are You Reading

Julie @ Smiling Shelves said...

Looks like a you have a lot of good reads and some fun challenges. Good luck!