Monday, May 22, 2017

Passing It On

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
My boys and I went to give blood last weekend. I was rejected for my low iron (apparently buying vitamins is not enough; you are supposed to actually consume them), but my muscle-bound older son as well as the just-turned-sixteen younger one passed easily. So I guess I did my duty.

Now I'll finally find out if that crazy nurse was justified in stabbing with a needle after my second childbirth. I kept asking her what the blood type was but she just laughed at me and chased me down with her sharp pointy weapon. It's hard to run fast a few hours after giving birth to a 9 pound + baby.

So far I've mostly kept up with my ridiculously easy walking pledge, except for the day Thick as Thieves came out. It wasn't quite nice enough to walk around a track while reading, so I abandoned all forms of motion and lay around reading it all day. And then rereading the best bits.

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 and I'm going to sign up. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and as I finished some kidlit books and a few picture books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:

PalimpsestCity of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)Ms. Marvel, Vol. 6: Civil War IIThick as Thieves (The Queen's Thief, #5)
In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor, #5)An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities, #1)Wounded (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #24.5)

Palimpsest, Catherynne Valente.  The ending wasn't all that satisfying, because I didn't really like any of the main characters so I had no concerns about whether they achieved their goals or happiness or anything. But the scenery throughout was varied enough to be interesting.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. I've finally finished this book. It was good, but somehow I wasn't driven to finish it and as I owned both paper and e-copies the library due dates didn't come into play. I'm glad I finally carved out time for it, and I'll try to work in the sequels.

* Civil War II (Ms Marvel 6), G. Willow Wilson.  I enjoyed it, and it had a good balance of life vs. super-heroing, although I thought the kids were dumb. No one seemed to understand that planning to blow up the school was a problem, or trying to blow up the building where the school bomber was being "extra-legally" held was also a choice with consequences. Kamela has a very believable teenage understanding that everything is her fault, and view that is also believably echoed by Bruno, who blames her for his injuries even though he built the bomb himself.

Thick As Thieves, Megan Whalen Turner. The latest in the Attolia series did not disappoint, although it was not what I expected (this is a good thing). It examines the effects of slavery as well as friendship and betrayal, and shows us beloved characters from new angles.

In Fire Forged (Worlds of Honor 5), David Weber.  I liked the Lindskold story, thought the Zahn one was over-long but OK, which was the same for the Weber story. The final bit on the specifications and history of development of a bunch of imaginary spaceships left me drooling with boredom.

* An Unseen Attraction, K J Charles. The idea of a taxidermist and a lodging house keeper with an apparent spectrum disorder finding love in Victorian England is fascinating, and when you add in mysterious family connections and murder things get even better.

* Wounded, Laurell K. Hamilton. Outtake from the previous Anita Blake book, with a chance to discuss what Anita, Micah, Nathaniel and Jean-Claude wear. Some of it is pretty out there -- Jean Claude wears a black suit to the wedding! I'm sure no more than 50% of the other guys there did that. Also they take a chance to tell the kid who got shot in the book to stop whining and start doing his PT; after all, everyone they know had it much worse and came back stronger. It did exactly what it said on the tin.

* Books I started and completed this week

I started but didn't finish:

The Innocent (Will Robie, #1)thumbThe Hate U Give

The Innocent, David Baldacci. This in on top of my virtual pile of ebooks I own but haven't read, so I'm adding it to my reading rotation. I'm cranky because the protagonist hasn't settled down somewhere yet.

Dead Silent, (Mike & Riel #5),  Norah McClintock. I'm a bit irritated by the protagonist, which is unfair because his self-absorbed guilt for things that are manifestly not his responsibility is just the latest of a pile of YA books with this problem. But maybe I should find another way into this series, because I don't have enough background with this guy to cut him any slack. OMG, I just looked for her website so I could find a picture of the book and found out that she died this February. She was only 64; I'm going to miss the rest of her books. She was a great author of YA mystery; the Dooleys are among my favorite books in that genre.

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas. This is a strong YA book told in first person by a teenaged African American who feels split between her swank high school (mostly white) and her "ghetto" home life. When her childhood friend is shot by a racist cop who mistook a hair brush for a gun, she finds these conflicts almost overwhelming. It did seem to make an effort to tick off as many current affair boxes as possible -- her uncle is a cop, her father is an ex-con, her best friend is absorbed in her white privilege, her boyfriend is a well meaning white guy who wonders why black kids have funny names, etc. But the voice is strong and true throughout.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Boy, Snow, BirdMaplecroft (The Borden Dispatches, #1)The Door at the CrossroadsAlliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)

Boy, Snow, Bird,  Helen Oyeyemi. My reading-my-library audio. At this point the bizarre things that happen to this family have overwhelmed the character development. I get the theme of choosing an identity as society tries to force you into one, although I'm not sure why that would cause you to kick your seven year old out of your house (or why her dad would be OK with that), but finding out in the same book that the white man you married was black and that the abusive man who raised you was your mother?  Disc  7-8/8.

Maplecroft, Cherie Priest. The whiny lover has sold herself to the beast, but at least it gives a chance for the doctor to join with them in opposing the eldritch aquatic evils.

The Door at the Crossroads, Zetta Elliott. Another Cybils finalist, I'm having trouble making progress because these teenagers are in definite peril. I'm proud of Judah for fighting for his freedom, but it's still hard to read about his tortures.

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 2. Hey, the feed was late! Shocking. So I didn't actually get to listen to this, but I did track down the audio so I can.

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenKenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. Men drink a lot and lose things.

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

Picture Books (most read in the library while waiting for my kids to rendezvous):

The JourneyWaiting for IceAn Armadillo in New YorkBefore I Leave
My Name Is BlessingThe Legend of Rock Paper ScissorsDragons Love Tacos

The Journey, Francesca Sanna. Gentle pictures complement the child's-eye view of war and displacement and illegal border crossings.

Waiting for Ice, Sandra Markle. True story, my favorite kind of nature story. Good pictures, not graphic but fairly lifelike.

An Armadillo in New York, Julie Kraulis. Cute and educational. I'm not sure why an armadillo, but I think this is a series.

Before I Leave, Jessixa Bagley. I am now completely distracted by this spelling of Jessixa. Is it pronounced Jessiksa?Anyway, the book has good pictures and a strong story of two friends coming to terms with the smaller one's impending move. A bit didactic.

My Name Is Blessing, Eric Walters. True story of a boy sent to an orphanage in Kenya when his grandmother cannot feed him. They change his name from "Suffering" to "Blessing" (to his and her approval). I'm a bit concerned because institutional care is almost always worse for the kid, but Blessing seems to be doing OK. I liked the real-life update and photos in the back, as well as the way his physical handicaps are acknowledged but not the whole story.

The Legend of Rock, Scissors, Paper, Drew Daywalt. This is a fun crowd-pleaser, with vibrant personalities for each of these titans of the suburban fight scene and a solid mix of colorful images and dramatic wording. It's fairly long, so good for an experienced pre-schooler or early elementary crowd.

Dragons Love Tacos, Adam Rubin. A good mix of pictures and humor make for a fun book. I know a boy with the same name as our dragon-loving protagonist, so it's a possibility for a gift.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. (No change from last week)
  2. Cybils 2016! 5 / a lot. No change. Ordered the next audio from the library.
  3. Reading My Library: Now on disc 8 of Boy Snow Bird. Picked up a book from the next shelf.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 18/51. The author thinks his book was set somewhere around Kentucky or West Virginia, and I need Kentucky -- can I just tell him the setting is now definitely Kentucky?

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