Last week was pretty quet around here. It rained all the time which discouraged me from venturing out much. It's time to nail down the final details of our Foolscap convention which is taking up a lot of my thinking. I can't wait to meet Seanan McGuire!
I can now stack my stash of last years unread Cybils into one giant pile -- progress! Currently Reading is around hovering around 32 as a result of me starting so many of them.
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 that I'm going to sign up for. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed. I'll go look to see what everyone else was reading at either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers.
This Week I started:
Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original News "Girl," Nellie Bly, Deborah Noyes. Cybils Nonfiction.
This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab. Cybils YA. I have high expectations for this author, as I've read some of her fantasy books written as V.E. Schwab.
The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell, Mira Grant. Mira Grant, aka Seanan McGuire, is the Guest of Honor at Foolscap next weekend, so I am catching up on her books.
Prudence, Gail Carriger. My next Reading My Library book, as well as a series I've been meaning to start.
Bull, David Elliott. Cybils poetry (2017). Hip hop and modern version of Crete's Minotaur, with each character using their own form of poetry.
This Land Is Our Land, Linda Osborne. Cybils nonfiction. Looks optimistic.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire. Another series from our Guest of Honor.
Shadow Magic, Joshua Khan. Cybils middle grade fantasy.
Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original News "Girl," Nellie Bly, Deborah Noyes. Cybils Nonfiction. Interesting but shallow biography of Nellie Bly, with emphasis on the stint in the madhouse and the trip around the world (which I had forgotten about). It left me wanting more.
Arabella of Mars, David Levine. This was a lot of fun -- I enjoyed the crazy science of ships sailing between planets, and the Regency style inheritance and social mores, and I found Arabella an engaging and worthy protagonist. Enough for me to hunt up the next book speedily.
Slacker, Gordan Korman. Cybils middle grade fiction. Fun melody of different voices, each a stock character (gamer, college-applicant, jock, delinquent, counselor, etc.) but with enough energy to sound distinct and believable (mostly). There are a few laugh out loud moments.
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley. My Tuesday Night Book club and Sword & Laser are both reading this. Worth reading again, but most of my club complained about the Russian doll effect -- the book is framed as a letter from a guy to his sister describing what his new friend said, including what that guy said that his monster said, including what the creation said that his neighbors said. At some point it's hard to sustain concern.
The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell, Mira Grant. I've forgotten most of Feed, so I think I'm missing some character references, but I didn't need them to find the story of a first grade teacher attempting to lead her students out of a locked-down zombie infested school thrilling. I like the science aspect of the virus as well as the news-story style of description and was impressed by my ability to handle the multiple child deaths.
Bull, David Elliott. Cybils poetry (2017). The hip-hop of Poseidon's voice didn't really grab me, but I suspect that is because I am old. I would certainly hand this to kids with an interest in Greek mythology.
This Land Is Our Land, Linda Osborne. Cybils nonfiction. A history of American immigration from about the 1880's on, from both coasts. It discusses the prejudices against immigrants as well as the different waves, striving for an even tone until the final epilogue where the author lets her Statue of Liberty flag fly.
Prudence, Gail Carriger. In some of the earlier books by this author I sometimes felt the sense of humor was mistimed; I kept tripping over it. This one matched me much better, or maybe I'm learning Carriger's rhythms and I enjoyed it tremendously, laughing out loud several times.
This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab. Cybils YA. It mostly met my expectations, although I had a hard time cheering for the character whose goal was to become an evil dictator. Clearly she would not succeed, but just aiming in that direction made her unsympathetic. The monster created by a massacre was more endearing.
When the Moon Was Ours, Anna-Marie McLenore. Cybils YA. This meditation on magic realism was pretty but didn't really work for me. I found the main characters less interesting than their nemeses, the "mean girls" on the farm next door. Their problems were largely imagined -- one character spends most of the book dreading talking to his mom to tell her something hugely obvious. There was a lot of that sort of teenage angst.
Made in China: The New Superman Vol 1, Gene Luen Yang. 2017 Cybils graphic novel. I was rarely confused about who was what, but I was distracted by pulling away from the narrative for most of the story. I find obnoxious teenagers dull. I find kidnapping and torturing antithetical to heroism, so I never liked the agency that recruited our main character. The ending dealt with some of these issues, but I'm not eager to continue the series.
Bookmarks moved in:
Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Episode 34. I'm listening to this through the Baen Free Radio podcast, and I really enjoy that the length of the episode varies tremendously, mostly depending on how long the middle interview goes. So it's harder to predict the pace of each chunk.
The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion. My next Reading My Library audio. I'm enjoying this a lot but there's a lot of social embarrassment that makes me switch to a podcast to cool off.
Rebel, Rachel Brown & Sherwood Smith. Politics, long lost family, trauma recovery, and scavenging. These kids live busy lives.
Beast, Bria Spangler. I kind of wish the cover hadn't spoiled the big reveal -- a shy boy is getting a girlfriend, and he wasn't paying attention when she told him she was transgender, so she thinks he's incredibly open to the idea, and he just thinks she's somehow really impressed that he likes her, which astounds and gratifies him. It's really cute but they are clearly rolling for a cliff edge.
The Plot to Kill Hitler, Patricia McCormick. Cybils nonfiction. Rich kid grows up in Germany, mourns a brother lost in World War I, and becomes a pastor interested in social justice. No wonder he has a problem with Hitler.
Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson. This is really good. I wish I had read it in time for book club. I like the anchoring in one case but the range over many problems his organization is addressing.
Booked, Kwame Alexander. Cybils poetry. So far I'm liking this much more than Alexander's previous book. The casual misogyny is still annoying, but sadly realistic.
California Bones, Greg Van Eekhout. Magical heist book! I'm catching up on an old Sword & Laser pick.
Fashion Rebels, Carlyn Beccia. Cybils nonfiction. Apparently my fashion icon is Ellen DeGeneres. That seems fair.
These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.
Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.
A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.
The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.
Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception, Wendelin Van Draanen.
Change of Heart, Norah McClintock. A boyfriend is having trouble letting go, making it hard to be friends.
Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Before reading a book, the teacher using some possible new vocabulary words to set the context, so that kids recognize and apply them correctly, reinforcing their use.
2018 Challenge Progress:
- Cybils 2017! 4/104-ish. Finished a comic book and a poetry book.
- Cybils 2016! 85/107-ish. I am belatedly working hard on this.
- Reading My Library: Continued The Rosie Project, which has a fun Australian narrator and a light hearted story. Finished Prudence and lined up Potions and Pastries.
- Where Am I Reading 2018?: 9/51. Added New York and Massachusetts. Looking at possible Alabama and Oregon entries..