Monday, February 22, 2016

Mid-Winter Break

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
My kids and my niblings go to different school districts, as in high school my kids jumped to the district by their dad's house. Which meant that the niblings got the whole week off for mid-winter break and my children, tragic victims of a teacher strike, had to wake up early from Wednesday through Friday and slog off to institutes of learning.

It was funny how both sets completely forgot their different schedules, with the niblings dashing over during the day to wonder where my boys were, and the boys astonished to hear of their cousins sleeping till noon. In Texas there was no such thing as a mid-winter break (who wants a week off in February? who in our district can afford to fly to a warm beach for a week?), so I don't really see the point.

It meant I had an excuse to slack off and read, so I got a few things finished. Also I found time to catch a touch of the flu, which would have been great if reading didn't lead to headaches.

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 nine books. Wow, I didn't notice that:
God Help the ChildA Stranger's Gift (Women of Pinecraft, #1)A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult LiteratureTime and Again (Time, #1)Imperfect Sword (The Lost Stars, #3)Every Last Word100 Best Books for ChildrenI Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two LivesA Bride's Story, Vol. 6 (A Bride's Story, #6)

God Help the Child, Toni Morrison. Reading My Library selection.

A Stranger's Gift, Anna Schmidt. I have no idea how I got this book, but apparently I own the kindle edition. I use a NOOK, so I don't have many kindle books and I've decided to try to read the ones I have somehow acquired. This one is set in Florida so I jumped in. I really liked the character Hester, who struggles with some of the expectations of her Mennonite community. She's a highly trained, supremely competent nurse and organizer, and she uses her work to shield herself from grief over her mother's death. John, her romantic counterpart, is a bit of a loser who works to be somehow someone she could marry. He does come with some useful property, so maybe that's enough?

A Family of Readers, Roger Sutton and Maria V. Parravano. This collections of essays and recommendations from the Horn book might have been written with the intention of giving me pleasure. It discusses the value and beauty of books read to babies, with children, by children, and by adolescents, as well as how to incorporate reading into family life and why doing so is natural and delightful. All of which I've pretty much lived, but it's always fun to have people agree with me, and I got a few book recommendations out of it as well.

Time and Again, Jack Finney. This is the book Sword and Laser read last November (as opposed to the book with the same name that I finished last week). It answers a few more of the questions SF readers bring to books, although it's much more interested in how the characters deal with the switching between times than in the mechanism for how they do it. I found the premise interesting but the characters themselves rather flat, so it tended to drag a bit for me.

Imperfect Sword, Jack Campbell. The latest entry in the saga of the galactic empires spinning after a revolution provides more space combat, political maneuvering, and struggling democracy while minimizing the plot strands I dislike, so I'll be up for the next in this series. I like Campbell's description of military forces, and I know he's ex-Navy, so I trust him. The only time his characters feel odd to me is when his women deal with women's issues such as childbirth; then I find them extremely hard to relate to.

Every Last Word, Tamara Ireland Stone. The next Cybils YA in my stack left me a bit cold. The angsty bits about mean girls and OCD worked, but I found it hard to sympathize with a character who doesn't remember bullying a peer as ruthlessly as she did. I can believe she did it, but that she would forget it so completely makes her selfishness extreme, and that she doesn't even notice this fact about herself makes me doubt her other realizations. Also, she cuts class a lot -- what kind of school doesn't even notice?

100 Best Books For Children, Anna Silvey. I think I'll make a list of the ones I haven't read yet: Swamp Angel (Anne Isaacs), Seven Blind Mice (Ed Young), Morning Girl (Michael Dorris), Humbug Mountain (Sid Fleishman), The Great Fire (Jim Murphy), and I'm not sure about In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (Bette Bao Lord).

*I Will Always Write Back, Caitlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda, & Liz Welch. Cybils YA nonfiction finalist, which the library wants back soon. I was surprised by how caught up I got in this alternating memoir. Caitlin starts out as a boy obsessed, math-hating, giant hooped earring teenager who has never heard of Zimbabwe and would have trouble finding Africa on a map. Martin is a shy and studious student who dreams of education but doesn't expect to achieve it. Within a hundred pages I was rooting for both of them, and despite having read the back cover I was still worried as college scholarships went down to the wire. I'll pass this on to the boys for reading.

* Bride's Story 6, Kaoru Mori. This entry was a thrilling addition to the story, with calvary charges, betrayal, cannon fire, and family conflict. Also a bridegroom wanting to grow into manhood, and a bride terrified to lose him when he has already redefined so much of her life and loyalties.

* Books I started this week. Most books tend last for weeks on my lists, because I have this habit of reading dozens of things at once. But occasionally I keep focus for several days on end.

I wasn't feeling too great on library day, so I didn't browse for picture books. Which made me feel even more low energy. Everything conspires to make me grumpy when I'm ill.

I started and am still reading three more books:

Miracle at AugustaCupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic (The Dowser #1)Only a Kiss (The Survivors'...

Miracle at August, James Patterson & Peter de Jonge. My next Reading My Library book.

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic, Meghan Doidge. February's Vaginal Fantasy book.

Only a Kiss, Mary Balough. I've been enjoying the Survivor's Club books, but I seemed to have missed a bunch. This one showed up on the library Quick Pick section, so I grabbed it. And then let it languish on my to-read library shelf for months.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)CruxThe Book ThiefRadiance

Republic, Lindsay Buroker. I think our team is getting back together! Except Sicarus seems to have wandered off.

Hild, Nicola Griffith. The mix of the child afraid of losing her family and the genius recognizing British-wide patterns is very compelling.

Under a Graveyard Sky, John Ringo. Lost treasure ships. Giant yachts of foolish billionaires.

Crux, Ramez Naam. Good guys, bad guys, and losers. Those are the characters.

The Book Thief, 
Markus Zusak. Our Tuesday book club book. No one is loving it, so it may get tossed aside. In the meantime, I'll keep reading my 100 pages each week.

Radiance, Catherynne M. Valente. I'm catching up on old Sword and Laser picks. This one hasn't grabbed me yet, but I remember from the discussion that it's a very slow starter.

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  A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)Midnight Crossroad (Midnigh...The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)Reading and Learning to Read

Rob Roy, Walter Scott. There is a whole of lot exciting things happening off-page in this book.
A Traitor To Memory, Elizabeth George. Did the nanny or the brother kill the baby?
Awakening to the Sacred, Lama Surya Das. Seems like cotton candy philosophy -- sweet to read, but leaves nothing behind.
Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris. The police show up because the murder is revealed. More characters from previous series appear -- Arthur from the Teagarden books.
Emerald Atlas, John Stephens. The magic has started -- they are in the album.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca. I like the insights into how your philosophy and definition of reading affect how reading is taught to young children.
2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 10 out of 82.  Finished Every Last Word as well as I Will Always Write Back. Everything Everything is up next.
  2. Reading My Library: Finished God Help the Child. Started Miracle at Augusta. Still listening to Hild.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 13/50.  Finished Florida. Got a Virginia last week. Annoyed at how many Californias and New Yorks I have already. 
  4. TBR Triple Dog Dare. My totals are 25 library books, 5 personal library, 4 e-book.
  5. Full House Challenge: 24/25. I'm stuck! Got the memoir; still need a fossil from my TBR list.
  6. Library Challenge: I'm at 36 already --  Adult and about to move into the last category.
  7. Diversity Challenge 2016: Kidlit: 5/12. Adult lit: 4/12. Cybils gave me a YA mental illness, and Bride Story gave me graphic novel.
  8. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  Still 6. I read one e-book from my virtual shelves this week.
  9. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 11/20. I am interpreting the categories rather loosely, but that's how I roll as a grown-up.


Julie said...

It looks like you had a GREAT reading week! Congrats! Here's mine: <a href=">Monday!</a>

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Nine books in a week - that must be some kind of record. How did you find the Toni Morrison novel?

Elizabeth said...

Wow...what a week!!

Nice books? That is amazing.

ENJOY the rest of this week.

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My It's Monday, What Are You Reading