Monday, July 10, 2017

Shakespeare in the Summer

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I managed to notice that Wooden O, our local Shakespeare in the Park people, were kicking off the summer nearby, so I dragged off the boys and my sister to see Much Ado About Nothing, which was fun despite the hot sunshine and a rather incoherent attempt to remind us that War is Bad at the end.

I'm also doing my summer reading thing of starting a book every day, which will probably mean ending up with a few dozen bookmarks by the end of August, but that's how I like to roll in the breaks between routine.

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 picture books, an early chapter book, and a middle grade (I think), I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

This week I started:

Desperate HeartsCaptain Vorpatril's Alliance (Vorkosigan Saga, #15)Life MattersMarry in Haste (Marriage of Convenience, #1)A Gentleman in MoscowChasing Down a Dream: A Blessings NovelGiant Trouble (Hamster Princess #4)

Desperate Hearts, Rosanne Bittner. The next book in my Reading My Library Quest.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold. I was reading some fanfiction, and decided to read the original again.

Life Matters, The BookClub Seattle. I know one of the authors.

Marry in Haste, Anne Gracie. I liked the description.

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles. For my summer book team.

Chasing Down a Dream, Beverly Jenkins. A LibraryThing Early Reader award, set in Kansas!

Giant Trouble (Hamster Princess #4), Ursula Vernon. For fun.

I finished:

Dragon in Exile (Liaden Universe, #18)A Coalition of Lions (The Lion Hunters, #2)Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (Vorkosigan Saga, #15)Life MattersThe CircleThe Woman in Cabin 10Giant Trouble (Hamster Princess #4)

The Dragon in Exile, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. It's always fun to catch up with the Liadan crew, but I prefer the more focussed books. This one spread itself out over all the Surebleak residents -- Miri, Val Con, Pat Rin, their mothers, fathers, children, siblings, enemies, domestic and armed servants, etc. It's a good launching point for more books, but more for people already interested than for new readers. But now I know what to know for the audio book I'm listening to.

A Coalition of Lions, Elizabeth Wein. An interesting take on Arthurian stories, following an imaginary daughter as she seeks refuge with her fiance after Arthur's death, which I believe is told in book one. It's got interesting details about life in Africa at about this time, and a good group of characters who seem plausible for their setting but still sympathetic for modern readers. I've also got book three, and I'll keep an eye out for books 1, 4, and 5.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold. I reread this late addition to the Vorkosigan stories, and it was still a delight, aided by a contemporary fanfiction that details the events from By's point of view ("A Bit Too Much Good Work" by a_t_rain). I skipped merrily between the two accounts, enjoying Bujold's word play and plot before dipping back to see another viewpoint. Much enjoyment ensued.

Life Matters, 
The BookClub Seattle. I got this book because a friend's mom wrote one of the stories, and then I loved it. The stories felt absolutely real and authentic, and I eagerly read them all in one day. I admit I was somewhat dreading it, as I'm not a big fan of short stories, but it turns out that I just don't like the kind of short stories that the New Yorker or Atlantic Monthly publish. These were less polished, but also less boring.

The Circle, Dave Eggers. I'd like to believe that the shallowness of the plot was deliberate, but I got the feeling that Eggers thought he was being insightful and cutting edge, instead of oblivious and late to a conversation that SF has been having for decades. Also, it annoyed me that most of the female characters were stupid and easily manipulated or crushed by rather obvious results that managed to surprise them, while male characters did the manipulation or at least had technical skills to make up for their weak personalities. The main character was a straw woman for vapid selfie-snapping idiot girls who probably liked Twilight and who will cluelessly bring about the fall of civilization.

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware. This was an OK mystery suspense, but I didn't much like the narrator who spent a lot of time panicking and whinging and whining. Which was realistic -- I would not have fared much better with the week she was having -- but not fun to read. Also, I didn't get a few details of the conclusion, which annoyed me because I can't tell if I was reading inattentively and missed stuff or if these are actual plot holes.

Picture books:

None. :-(

My library pile is getting a bit out of hand, so I'm trying not to spend extra time in the library, which means no picture book browsing for me.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)The Ghost BrideThe Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy DogEvery Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 7. OK, I see what Shan and Priscilla are up to, besides embracing the art of Silence as a method of communicating with their child.

The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo. The current Vaginal Fantasy book. I can't find myself caring about what happens in the land of the dead. Basically I feel all the tension of a book about someone hallucinating while in a coma. That's not much.

The Inquisitor's Tale (4-7), Adam Gidwitz. The monk now seems a real bad guy. I'm not sure Gidwitz thinks that, but it seems rather clear cut to me. Also, does anyone else see a moral difficulty in lying about your divine visions? Because that seems like a no-brainer to me, up there with using Red Cross tabards to sneak your assassins in close to their target. The false historical feel hasn't gotten better, either.

Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire. Wow, things escalated fast.

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)The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.

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

The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: Done! Any minute now I'll make a post comparing my winners to the actual winners. We don't tend to match a lot.
  2. Cybils 2016! 7 / a lot. Listening to Inquisitor's Tales. 
  3. Reading My Library:  Started the next one!
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 24/51. Almost done with a Kansas book, and I think Desperate Hearts is in Montana or somewhere. Hmm, I just noticed that I already have Montana.

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