Monday, March 21, 2016

Mid-March Is All About Festivities

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Mid-March is a time of much festivity. Of course it starts with my birthday, nerds out with Pi Day, goes classical with the Ides, and then parties on with St. Patricks, before bedecking itself for the first day of Spring, and this year, Easter! March is just the best month in general. Well, occasionally the weather kicks up a bit, but mostly it's all about flowers blooming and winter getting beat back. And girl scouts peddling cookies (mustn't forget that).

I've almost finished all the sweet things that came on my birthday, and my sons' discovered the 'Zaw cookies so those disappeared. I also successfully cooked calzones, or at least I think they were successful since tragically I had to go to a PTA meeting instead of staying home to sample them. I made some extras to stuff in lunch boxes, so I hope they work as cold pasties as well.

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, which is again the majority of my reading this week.

This week I finished three books:

Paper TownsNot Always a Saint (The Lost Lords, #7)Most Dangerous: Daniel Ells...

Paper Towns, John Green.  Spoiler -- this is the first John Green book I've read without a (literary) fatality, so great! Go Green! I laughed at the road trip, because I've done many of them so all the stressing seemed funny. I still hope my kids don't hang out with Green characters -- when the protagonist realizes how easy it is to lie to his parents and then can't figure out why he hasn't been doing this all along, I eye him sideways. Because you have a moral core? Because it's better to put healthier boundaries up between you and your parents by doing things on your own, not just by sneaking around? It's not like they would not have accepted "I don't want to talk about it" for almost everything he lied about.

Not Always a Saint, Mary Jo Putney. I've managed to skip an entry in the Lost Lords series, but I'm clever enough to keep up. Two extremely accomplished people fall in love and get married, despite the endless surprises from her past that keep complicating things. (Her first husband abused her. Ack! Her next lover is a scoundrel out to ruin her. Eek! Also there's that pesky murder thing.) Luckily he's a doctor and a clergyman and a lord and trained in martial arts, so together they fight crime!

Most Dangerous, Steve Sheinkin. Cybils YA Nonfiction finalist. The Cybils comes through again with a great offering. This details the release of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970's through a biography of Daniel Ellsberg, the former war hawk who converted to a anti-war peace activist in time to copy the papers and then get them to all the newspapers. The focus stays mainly on Ellsberg, but veers off to examine what the politicians were doing at the same time. Another solid entry here.

* 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 found three picture books at the library:

My Friend RabbitLola at the LibraryWe're Going on a Book Hunt

My Friend Rabbit, Eric Rohman. I searched this out because I needed a Caldecott for a Bingo spot, and I enjoyed it tremendously. I loved the exuberant pictures and the deadpan way Rabbit goes off and instantly returns with an elephant or hippo or rhino. Also, a librarian taught me how to search inside the new picture book system, which is now organized by category instead of by author, so there are Animal Books and Issue Books and Holiday book, etc. Good luck to whoever is categorizing things, since I can think of several anthropomorphic books involving issues around holidays.

Lola at the Library, Anna McQuinn. Little girl likes going to the library. It's a cute story with pleasant pictures, but doesn't do anything special. I wouldn't have minded reading it to small children, but it wouldn't stick with me.

We're Going On a Book Hunt,
Pat Miller. This book managed to miss me completely, despite working with a favorite old song and my beloved topic of libraries. Everything seemed forced, and the demand to find a book that isn't too easy or too hard left me cold. They did that "count mistakes on your fingers" thing that I loathe. I love many books that are too easy or too hard, and think that pleasure reading should center around interests, not reading level.

I started and am still reading three more books:

Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8)The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingCourage & Defiance: Stories...

Archangel's Enigma, Nalini Singh. I think this entry to the series will focus on a new romance, only checking back into the main story line through our two romantic leads. The evil empress of evil just kidnapped the woman, so the man is on the hunt to get her back.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo. This is for a book club that may or may not feature this book, but since the library got it to me early I'm reading it just in case. I'm not going to try it, so I will not experience the magic, although I'll embrace the idea of throwing stuff out.

Courage & Defiance, Deborah Hopkinson. The next Cybils nonfiction for me. I've now got high expectations for these finalists, and I've always been interested in the Danish resistance to the Nazis in WWII, so this should be a good read.

Bookmarks moved in several books:
Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)CruxChild of the Ghosts (Ghosts, #1)Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3)AirtightBlake: or; The Huts of America

Republic, Lindsay Buroker. My heros are reunited again.

Hild, Nicola Griffith. Hild hits adolescence.

Under a Graveyard Sky, John Ringo.

Crux, Ramez Naam. Action packed action! Also kids getting beat up.

Child of the Ghosts, Jonathan Moeller. The child is now officially a ghost. And mostly grown up.

Grave Peril, Jim Butcher. Wow that was a strangely dubbed movie. Fun to watch with friends. Time to finish up this one and get a copy of the next book, Beekeeper's Apprentice.

Airtight, David Rosenfelt. My next Library Quest book. Can the bereaved older brother accept hard truths about his little sibling? Will the forced investigation make the detective less able to piece out the truth? This is interesting.

Blake, or the Huts of America, Martin Delaney. This is the first book on Nisi Shawl's Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction, which I have commenced working my way through. The slaves are oppressed -- promises broken, families split.

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.

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

A Traitor To Memory, Elizabeth George.
Awakening to the Sacred, Lama Surya Das. More hints on building a meditation routine.
Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris. Bobo is no longer a suspect in the murder.
Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca. Reading to younger students helps everyone.

PS. Hi Mom! Do you like my blog?
2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 16 out of 82. Enjoying the YA nonfiction much more than the fiction. I like my strategy of rating as I go.
  2. Reading My Library:  Continued Airtight. Still listening to Hild.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 18/50.  Doubled up on Florida. Humph. Still ahead of schedule.
  4. TBR Triple Dog Dare. My totals are 32 library books, 7 personal library, 4 e-book. I think there are 4 eligible library books left.
  5. Full House Challenge: 24/25. I'm not done! I mistyped "2016" as "2015"; mainly because of the Triple Dog Dare I have not read a book from this year yet. Curses.
  6. Library Challenge: I'm at 52. I have invented a new category. 
  7. Diversity Challenge 2016: Kidlit: 10/12. Missing autism book & Holocaust book (I decided Book Thief didn't count).  Adult lit: 5/12. (no change). Tracking gender this month: My M/F rations are close to 50/50, both for main character and for author.
  8. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  Still 9. Not reading much from my own shelves.
  9. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 15/20. 
  10. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 5/12. And I think Archangel's Enigma will give me another.
  11. Surprise Me Challenge: I can't read any of them yet because of the dare. Humph.
  12. Flash Bingo: Another Bingo Card, but this one to be finished in the next two months.


Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Belated happy birthday! I am a March baby myself - great to see so many good reads here as per usual. I didn't much like Paper Towns - read it as part of the Book Riot Read Harder challenge but couldn't bring myself to review it - I steer clear of writing negative reviews simply because I don't want to provide air space to books I didn't even particularly enjoy.

Elizabeth said...

Happy Birthday - late.

Paper Towns looks good, but I see Myra said she didn't enjoy it. I guess you can't judge a book by its cover, which I usually do.

Another amazing week for you.

ENJOY this week.

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

Beth said...

I figure my tiny reviews don't count, so I report my feelings. If I start writing real reviews again I'll only do the books I enjoyed. But I think John Green's books are aimed at his audience -- kids living the stress of YA probably like having books that show kids trying out different things, so Greens books definitely have a place. I'm a parent of those kids, so it's probably good that I have qualms! As long as they see lots of different things in lots of different places I'm happy.

Also, no one smoked in Paper Towns, so that was also awesome! Turns out I have the same reaction to kids smoking in books as I do to anyone doing harder drugs -- instant repulsion. So Green's Searching For Alaska never had a chance with me.

kmitcham said...

I need to get a copy of Beekeeper's. I don't think my library holds are going to pay off in time.