Alexander came home for the weekend, and it was lovely to see him again. Monosyllabic text responses aren't quite a substitute for his merry presence. There was a slight glitch where we discovered his train ticket went to the wrong station, but a few podcasts later I found him. We went off shopping so I could provide for all his needs, which apparently consisted of a $5 pillow (they were on sale). Now he has everything he needs for the rest of the semester.
Saturday was a 24 hour readathon which I did in a very leisurely fashion, mostly using it as an excuse to lie about reading while the boys were off at all-day D&D. No waking up early or staying up all night, as I wanted to be aware of the kids when they were around. Sunday I hosted my bi-annual Foam Sword Party, which almost nobody showed up for, which was shame as the weather unexpectedly turned lovely after a week of rain. So the family battled each other and got special coaching from the guy, which was fun but exhausting. Usually I spend a lot of time resting on the sidelines after getting mowed down almost instantly. I did quite well against my little brother; it is possible that he was handicapped by having his right arm in a sling but *I* was not wearing my "Let me hear your excuses" t-shirt.
I also took a trip to the zoo with my friend Linda on the only other day this week with sunshine; we saw wolves, elk, monkeys and a tapir. And took a few wrong turns so that it was our longest walk through the zoo so far.
I continued finishing more books than I started. Currently Reading has held at 20 (single page!) for several days. Obviously I am a model of self-restraint.
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 my Cybils reading qualifies me. I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.
This week I started:
Beauty Like the Night, Joanna Bourne. My friend Mary Margaret put me onto this author, so I always feel like I'm visiting her when I read a new one.
Bronze Skies, Catherine Asaro. The Skolian empire books are among my slightly guilty pleasures.
Spectred Isle, K. J. Charles. I bought this one and I wanted to start on my kindle TBR.
The Divided Family, Wanda and Jean Brunstetter. For my Reading My Library quest.
Primary Inversion, Catherine Asaro. The first of the Skolian books which I haven't reread in a while.
NurtureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. For my Reading Across the Aisles bookclub next week.
A Peace Divided, Tanya Huff. Sadly, I have caught up on the series about Torin Kerr, space marine. I like how Huff kept the focus on Kerr and her team mates but also showed not only how the changes have affected the individuals but also the wider society, and that her society isn't a monolith but made up of many species, cultures, and opinions. I hope there is at least one more book to come.
Beauty Like the Night, Joanna Bourne. As long as I don't overdose I enjoy the diction of Bourne's French heroines, although in this case I did wonder how she kept her accent she apparently she was adopted into an English household at the age of three. I never did come to accept the guy as a good partner; his careless attitude towards his kid wasn't endearing, and I wasn't as forgiving of his habit of manipulating rather than talking to people, especially his friends and allies.
Bronze Skies, Catherine Asaro. This hero again is all confused looks and blunt statements, and Asaro hasn't completely grown out of her habit of exposition by bizarrely confused people suddenly noticing basic tenets of their lives. But underneath the prose I really like the characters and I also like a good story about telepathic people with SCIENCE.
Spectred Isle, K. J. Charles. This new series by Charles goes back to magic, with a new secret society to protect England. The old ways are threatened by new bureaucracy after the horrendous losses of World War I, and there's a bit of attention put to the advantages and disadvantages of private vs government systems, and the weaknesses when bad agents take hold in either one. And the disgraced status of the new recruit adds an interesting dimension to the look at the historical period. Fun and fast.
The Divided Family, Wanda and Jean Brunstetter. I can't argue that the thinness of this book wasn't enticing for my Reading My Library Quest choice. I also liked that it was set in Amish country, in Ohio, and in the middle of a series, all things I like. It was a fast slice of life story, clearly in media res, although I suspect I had more sympathy for the neer-do-well brother who had turned away from religion than his family or the authors did. I suspect his problems had little to do with his faith.
Helliconia Spring, Brian Aldiss. I'm a bit late to this Sword and Laser pick, but it was hard going and never really grabbed me. The idea was nifty but the societies and characters were stock in an old fashioned way that repelled me. Sometimes I can read old stuff (this is from the '80s) and overlook annoying things that were standard then but sometimes I can't. Also, nobody seemed to have much agency -- things happened, and they reacted a bit, but I couldn't care that much about an imaginary history without something human to grab on to.
Primary Inversion, Catherine Asaro. This time I bought the kindle version so I could compare it to my paperback, as Asaro apparently re-edited the whole thing. It's been too long since I read it to notice any small plot changes, but looking at a few paragraphs the new version is better written and brings out things buried in the original, making explicit Soz's fear of turning into a cruel version of her half-brother and her ambition to rule and make better choices. I also really like this depiction of an extremely shell-shocked soldier complete with picking up a cute boy for an easy sexual fling to help get over a broken relationship.
NurtureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. I'm now ready for Tuesday's Across the Aisles bookclub where we'll be talking about child rearing. I felt very smug that I knew about most of the topics discussed until I went to record reading it and saw that actually I read the whole thing seven years ago. The fun part was that all the stuff relevant to tweens and younger was remembered keenly, while all the teen stuff seemed fresh and interesting, so I guess that shows where my interest lay back with the kids were twelve and under. I lent the kid to the current sixteen year old so he can see what the experts think of his developing brain.
I started six and finished eight, including all six that I started. That's a good direction for my currently-reading list!
Weekends With Max and His Dad, Linda Urban. Cybils finalist. It's an easy to read book with easy chapters so good for a starter independent reader. But there's no real emotion in the book -- Max's parents have split up but he doesn't care at all. All the neighbors are nice and a bit quirky, the illustrations are cute, but there's no depth to anything. Very dull for an adult reader, and I don't see it sticking in the memory of kids either.
Juana & Lucas, Juana Medina. Cybils finalist. Lively voice of a young girl as she starts the school year and struggles with adding English to the curriculum. The author sprinkles a few Spanish words in the text to show that as the character's actual language, and the bright illustrations depict the small scenes the girl works through with energy. I liked how her attempts to study don't really bear fruit until she buys into a good reason to learn (that's a trope I really like) and how her trip to America is delightful even when a few things don't work out as she planned.
The Not-a-Pig (Mango & Bambang 1), Polly Faber. Cybils finalist. The story was fine but I was utterly charmed by the pictures, drawn in pencil (?) with a purple sidekick color. The purple popped in interesting ways, highlighting both charming details and the important parts of the story. It was excellent timing for me, since I saw a tapir at the zoo on Monday. That one had less lilac, though.
The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde, Shannon Hale. Cybils finalist. Fun but a bit disappointing. As expected, the disguised Princess Black and her loyal pony defeat the monsters. Some of the monsters are cute bunnies, but I expected more from that premise than I got.
Bookmarks moved in:
Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Episode 21. Padi's necessities are fairly clear, as are Tolly's, but I know what Shan needs to do I'm not sure how it's personal for him.
Hostage, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown. The princess from the evil town is not enjoying her position as captive, and I suspect some of her mistaken certainties will be taking a beating.
Someplace to Be Fying, Charles de Lint. OK, the fox guy went from creepy child stalking to child abandonment, still protesting that he's doing it for her own good while ignoring his own responsibilities or even her choices. I'm not enamored with him. Good thing I think the perspective is about to jump.
Virtues of War, Bennett Coles. A bit more space ship maneuvering.
Little Fuzzy, H. Beam Piper. 3-5/6. During the readathon I kept this on whenever I was in the car, so I made good progress. I like audio books that I've read a few years ago; it's a good balance of interest but familiarity so that driving is not distracted but more enjoyable. It was fun when Alexander recognized the story, although he preferred the Scalzi version.
Flame in the Mist, Renee Ahdieh. I got this back from the library but I really don't appreciate the main character, who seems directionless and a bit clueless. I read fantasy adventure for more adventure, so it's not to my taste.
These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.
Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. Queen Elizabeth is not impressed with the men presented to her for knighting, except for the gallant Raleigh. Also, the Earl is tempted by ambition but weakly struggles for virtue.
The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.
A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.
The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.
Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Looking at the levels of vocabulary and what it really means to understand a term, especially in various contexts.
2017 Challenge Progress:
- Cybils 2016! 42/107-ish. Read a bunch of Easy Readers and Early Chapter books.
- Reading My Library: Working on the audio book Little Fuzzy. Polished off Divided Families by Brunstetter.
- Where Am I Reading?: 33/51. Ohio wasn't technically a new state, but the previous book was mostly a guess and this one is a definite location.