Wow, so much social interaction this week. I ditched my online book club to sneak over to my "Read Across the Aisles" in-person club, where we read controversial books and try to stay polite about it. So far it has worked out pretty well, although we didn't disagree much for the past few books. We're hoping for more arguments with the next one.
Then I went to a Clarion West celebration for the conclusion of their yearly writing program, where I talked to a lot of aspiring writers and also some hugely successful ones (Connie Willis! Nisi Shawl!). I even wore almost-nice clothes (not blue jeans, decent top). And the very next day I had friends come over to my house for our monthly book club, where we tried an experiment of watching the movie for the book (The Dark is Rising book, The Seeker is the movie) even though the movie is fairly awful. There was wine involved, which is not typical for our book club. Also nice cheeses, pizza, and ice cream. And popcorn. It was a lot of fun hanging with these wonderful women.
I'm still 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 a picture book, a Newbery winner, two YA mysteries and several SF books that feature teenagers, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.
This week I started:
Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor. For my book team.
Traitor's Blade, Sebastien de Castell. Another for my book team.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill. Because of Sunlit Pages's book blab.
Brotherhood in Death, J.D. Robb. I like this series.
From Above, Norah McClintock. I'm on a McClintock kick ever since I read about her death.
Out of Tune, Norah McClintock. Coincidentally, I received an ARC of the previous book's sequel.
Dark Is Rising, Susan Cooper. My friend's book club book.
Black Butler 8, Yana Toboso. I'm sticking with this series although I like the early ones better.
Chasing Down a Dream, Beverly Jenkins. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip to an entwined community in Kansas, and I hope I get to revisit it again. I expected a kidlit story of children finding a home, but they were a background to a community that also dealt with growing pains, prejudice, envy, and greed in believable small town ways.
Marry in Haste, Anne Gracie. I really liked the romance parts and the wild young girls, but found the assassin side plot rather dull and didactic. I guess it was a way to keep the plot ticking along, but my favorite parts were the adults and teens learning to trust each other and working out how to be a family.
A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles. This was another case of a book benefitting from a misconception. I assumed this would be grim and depressing, since it is set among aristocrats immediately after the Russian Revolution, but instead it has almost a fairy tale quality, with goodness rewarded and evil punished, and large time skips to let us miss the more depressing periods (World War II? Forget it!). The result was a warm hearted feel good story that matched my summer mood.
The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo. Last month's Vaginal Fantasy book. I never did warm to this book; the protagonist felt feeble and passive and unable even to decide between boy friends (one is rich and human and rather clueless, the other is an awesome dragon). The imagery was good and the layered description of the afterlife was interesting, but the first-person writing meant that my distaste for the main character kept me from engaging.
From Above, Norah McClintock. My second Riley Donovan story; I'm uncertain whether it's the second book in the series or if there are more early ones. In any case, I like Riley; she's a typical McClintock independent teen. She has friends but doesn't worry too much about romance; she respects her aunt and authority figures but doesn't feel the need to blindly obey them. And she's loyal, persistent, and a little bit lucky.
Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire. I felt very smug because I spotted the killer before the kids did, although I didn't spot the solution. I like the idea of the school and the series, so I hope I get a chance to read the other books.
Out of Tune, Norah McClintock. Because I am occasionally really lucky, LibraryThing sent me an Early Readers ARC of the next Riley Donovan book just as I finished From Above. I enjoyed this one the most, although I think it requires reading the previous books for that. Since I already know Riley's relationships and history of solving mysteries, I didn't mind the scant attention paid to establishing them or that another teen turned to Riley for help when she gets in trouble.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill. Now I can finally watch the video of Sunlit Pages book club. I can see why this won the Newbery -- I liked the resonances between the story and the fantasy and the themes and the emotional journeys of the characters. Even the cover art is lovely. Highly recommended.
The Rules of Summer, by Shaun Tan. Gorgeous pictures and a lovely disconnect from humdrum reality. Also a beautiful fraternal relationship. I read this one twice while sitting. It's also a good feeling when I pick up a book for its cover and then find that it was on my goodreads TBR list, so that I'm not only reading a book I'm checking off a list! Not all kids will like the fantasy, but I think mine would have.
Bookmarks moved in:
Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 8-9. I hope the AI thread meets up with the trading ship threat or I shall be cranky.
The Inquisitor's Tale (7-8), Adam Gidwitz. Still disliking the faux historical feel, which is only historical when it is convenient for the author. Also sad the the children are distraught over the fate of the rotten Michael Angelo, which strikes me as an example of Stockholm Syndrome. Oh well, at least we got some "my ass" jokes to lighten the mood.
Desperate Hearts, Rosanne Bittner. This has not grabbed me yet, but it's a lightweight paperback so I take it with me for when I'm on the go but don't want to read off a screen.
These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.
The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.
Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.
Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.
The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens. The final conflict -- will some of the people stay dead? I like how some of the kids are being smart.
Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Different levels of comfort with vocabulary.
2017 Challenge Progress:
- Cybils 2015: Done! I made my comparison post. I did better than I expected, with four matches! Although several times they picked what I considered the dud of the pack, so there you go. Tastes differ.
- Cybils 2016! 7 / a lot. Almost done listening to The Inquisitor's Tale. And I've got Labyrinth Lost on my library shelf waiting to go.
- Reading My Library: Made a teeny amount of progress!
- Where Am I Reading?: 25/51. Finished the Kansas book. Actively looking for Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware and Georgia.