Summer has definitely moved into autumn, so we have cooler days, actual rainfall, and earlier evenings. This will soon accelerate with a vengeance, and then Daylight Savings will mean the kids come home from school after dark.
I dragged my junior son off to give blood, where I failed the iron check and he got to experience the joys of a bad draw, resulting in pain, bruising, and a free ice pack (I got free iron pills).
I had fun heading out to hear my Congressman at a local town hall. He seems to be representing me in a way I approve, so I didn't bother to offer any suggestions at the mike. It does strike me as an exhausting job, especially when you have to listen to people who have no idea what they are saying. I don't think I'd have the patience.
I'm eyeing the October Readathon as a way to decisively pull out of my Summer Reading Pile madness, but even before then things are heading in a good direction. Currently Reading is down to 27 books already, and my goal is to get back to 20 (the size of my Goodreads page).
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 certainly qualify this week I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.
This week I started:
The Giant Pumpkin Suite, Melanie Hill. An ARC I received that looks like a good read. It's set in Minnesota, and so far involves a giant pumpkin seed, a cello prodigy, and twins, so it's in a sweet spot for me (I like pumpkins, prodigies, and twins).
The Late Scholar, Jill Paton Walsh (audio). I think this is her last Harriet/Peter book based on Sayer's detective couple. I liked the previous ones, and I like British accents, so I grabbed it as my next Reading My Library audio choice.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright. A history of scientology that I'm reading for my controversial book club. I need to finish by this Tuesday.
The Heart of Valor, Tanya Huff. When I like something, I overindulge. This is book 3.
Four books is probably the most I should start each week. On the other hands, audio books for me are by nature only a single, since I listen on CD in the car and even I don't try to alternate CDs from different stories. At least not very often. So when one finishes the next begins, but they don't pile up.
The Seventh Bride, T. Kingfisher. This was a fun audio book, and well worth the auction price I paid for it. I really like Kingfishers voice for young protagonists, which seems realistic but also innocent and inexperienced. It helps that I like most adolescents, and that the narrator's voice grew on me as the CD continued. The wicked were vanquished, the good went on with their lives, although somewhat damaged.
The Youngest Miss Ward, Joan Aiken. One of my favorite things about Aiken is that suddenly she seems to notice that she is writing within the tropes of a genre, and then suddenly breaks out in an unexpected direction. This book had all the hallmarks of a romance, with the added treat of a poet protagonist, when at the end it laughs at the idea of the romance (much to the relief of everyone who noticed all the red flags that were clearly deliberately scattered about) and twists into a cheerful resolution. Harriet may be really nice and forgiving, but she's not an idiot and she sees where her happiness lies.
Indigo, a lot of people. This was a bit heavy on the horror for my taste, and a bit light on the relationships and characters. It didn't help when some of the characters disappeared for long stretches of the story, or maybe never existed at all. The ten authors were also a distraction, as I kept wondering how they managed their collaboration. Google docs? A chain letter? I don't really recommend it, although it they do another one I'll probably pick it up.
Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler. This didn't really stick the ending, perhaps because Shakespeare had determined the resolution centuries ago. I could see a possibility for something between the characters, but it blossomed much sooner that seemed realistic and without any real reason other than the author had to get to the Act 5 speeches part.
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, Rodman Philbrick. This read to me like the kind of historical fiction I liked as a kid, with an engaging protagonist and an avalanche of coincidences that get the child hero to as many important historical events as remotely feasible. A dash of character growth (in this case, a very light dash) and the book is served. I'm not sure how it won a Newbery; it didn't seem exceptional although it wasn't annoying.
Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen. My SIL gave my son the first Sammy Keyes book. He read the first few, and I went through the entire series. I really like her independence and the variety of almost-believable problems she deals with while solving mysteries.
The Heart of Valor, Tanya Huff. Not quite as perfectly made for me as book 2, this one also delves into galactic conspiracies and wider concerns, which make for interesting reading. I've ordered the library to bring me the next book ASAP.
Strange, Unusual, Gross, & Cool Animals, Animal Planet. This Cybils finalists seems oddly situated among other more comprehensive texts; I treated it as a lengthy picture book. I can see animal loving preschoolers enjoying it either with an adult or on their own, as the pictures stand alone even if you can't read the science trivia that goes with them.
Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White, Melissa Sweet. A more conventional children's nonfiction Cybils finalist, this biography does a good job focussing on how the children's books were written while also giving a sense of White's overall life and career. The illustrations definitely evoke the sense of his books, giving me a strong memory of how it felt to read the books as a child.
Bookmarks moved in:
Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 14-17. Padi has another source of nightmares now -- the guard's gleeful description of torture sunk deep.
Harmful to Minors, Judith Levine. I find myself uncomfortable with the idea of children having sex, but if the definition of children includes people up to age 17 (or older), then things start becoming ridiculous. Should all 14 years be barred from sex because some are too young to handle it?
Merely a Marriage, Jo Beverley. The problem is not strong enough to hold my attention. She's tall. He regrets his previous wife's death by childbirth. This seems like a short story, not a novel.
The Way Into Chaos, Harry Connolly. My favorite group are the teenage girls crossing the wilderness.
The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown. Joe moves toward the University of Washington. I like the story, although I still don't care much about rowing.
Captive Prince, C.S. Pacat. The captive prince attempts to make a connection.
The Murder of Mary Russell, Laurie R. King. Mary Russell seems to have disappeared from this book. Perhaps she really was murdered.
Unbound, Jim Hines. Wow, Hines, you killed of a big player. Brave writing.
Hostage, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown. There are a lot of people having character arcs here.
Someplace to Be Fying, Charles de Lint. I keep forgetting about the details of the murder mystery.
Virtues of War, Bennett Coles. I'm not sure why we are spending so much time socializing in a bar. There's wars to be fought!
Legend, Marie Lu. Privilege is hard to see from the inside.
Flame in the Mist, Renee Ahdieh. My speed on this book is about to slow since the library has called it home. I have requested it back again.
Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone. My attendance at book club has been flaky (why are back-to-school meetings so commonly on Tuesdays?) so I haven't made much progress.
These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.
Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. Who to nominate for honors means guessing whom the queen wants you to put forth.
The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.
A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.
The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.
Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.
2017 Challenge Progress:
- Cybils 2016! 23/ 107-ish. I found and finished the missing nonfiction picture book, and then read another.
- Reading My Library: Still looking for Out of Range. Started the next audio book, Late Scholar.
- Where Am I Reading?: 31/51. The Figg book spent a plurality in Maine, so I'm counting it. Vinegar Girl stayed in Maryland, as I hoped. I have my eyes on a Georgia book.