Monday, November 20, 2017

Energy Has Left the Building

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I restarted Family Book club, which we hold with another family. This is especially important now that my family has shrunk to two people. It was a bit of a cheat, as I only made everyone else read the table of contents of NurtureShock, but it was still fun because we had kids and teens and parents to argue about the points. Everyone had fun (and sushi) and now claim they are going to actually read the next book.

I also drove up to Kirkland for a friend's inaugural Feminist Book Club. I had read the book months ago so couldn't add much to the point but it was fun anyway. And I enjoyed World Language Night at the high school, although my sons made a good choice in picking Latin in terms of musicality and performance. I texted at my older son throughout, so we all felt companionable.

Reading wise, I'm facing the end of the year and the fact that most of my challenges are half done. I picked up a pile of YA and am pretending I'm going to read them, as well as the next pile of Reading My Library books. Currently Reading has wavered and wriggled and returned to 21.

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 signing up there. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and my Cybils reading qualifies me. I'll go look to see what everyone else was reading at either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers.

This Week I started:

Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone, #1)A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1)Rebel (The Change, #3)Make Me Stay (Hope, #5)

Rag and Bone, KJ Charles. I almost missed this one, confusing it with the short story that introduced the characters.

A Study in Charlotte, Brittany Cavallaro. A Cybils YA book. I'm running very late with my Cybils reading this year.

Rebel, Sherwood Smith & Rachel Manija Brown. The third book in this series.

Make Me Stay, Jaci Burton. My next Reading My Library book.

I finished:

Nothing to Lose (Jack Reacher, #12)Jackdaw (The World of A Charm of Magpies)Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone, #1)The Keeper of the MistExpendable (League of Peoples, #1)

Nothing to Lose, Lee Child. Definitely set in Colorado. I found the woman who briefly holds Reacher's interest utterly incomprehensible, but that isn't unusual in these books. A standard version of these stories, nothing out of the ordinary.

Jackdaw, K J Charles. I like rereading the parts after they get away, but the parts where there is the betrayal and the prison and the sadness, those aren't as much fun. But it was fun to spot the guys from Rag and Bone as they passed in the hall.

Rag and Bone, KJ Charles. Just as I was congratulating myself on reading all of Charles's books, I realized that I had skipped this one because I confused it with the short story that introduced the characters. It's another chance to see Crane and Day from the terrified view of other practitioners, as well as a few glimpses of the Jackdaw pair, but it also concentrates on its own characters of a Cornish man who attracts bad mentors and a Black paper collector with firm values.

The Keeper of the Mist, Rachel Neumeier. The next Cybils YA book. This was an entertaining fantasy, with an innovative magic system that was explained mostly by the confusing of the people trying to deal with their new talents after the previous generation botched both the use and the transfer of key positions. I found the tacked-on romance at the end a sad letdown that pulled energy out of the ending, but in general it was a fun read.

Expendable, James Alan Gardner.  For my Tuesday BookClub, which is also now a Minecraft club. I'm not actually supposed to finish this until next week, but I was hoping for some ideas for stuff to build that ties in with the book. The egg collection was easy, as was the statue of Oar, but I'm not sure what to do next. An underwater dome city? Oh, I enjoyed it as SF as well, although Festina is not good with men. This reread I noticed she was a child of 23, so I'm more tolerant.

I started 4 and finished 5. That's better than I thought I was doing.

I Gave Up On:
Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

Strangers in Their Own Land, Arlie Hochschild. I started this too late and the library wants it back, and I don't want to cram it because I have to work at compassion. Some people make it hard. When a man describes how charitable he is by referencing how his family works to provide gifts for needy families through a giving tree, and then casually mentions that they throw out requests for shoes if the sizes are too big, because they might be going to adults, I need to put down the book and try to imagine people who have never encountered any teenaged boys. People who are also so determined that an undeserving person not receive charity that they are willing to let unnumbered children also miss out just in case. Wow.

Picture Books and Short Stories:
Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, #3)Remnant: A Caldwell & Feximal/Whyborne & Griffin Mystery (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, #3; Whyborne & Griffin, #3.5)Guess Who, Haiku

Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln, Kate DiCamillo. The last Cybils early chapter book, with an entertaining protagonist of an elderly woman making a brief break for independence, which luckily turns out well as she learns about comedy, candy, and creativity before being welcomed back into her family with more respect. I like the idea of kids identifying with the aged.

"Remnant, " KJ Charles and Jordan Hawke. Two magical crime-fighting couples that meet and annoy each other. Since I think I have now actually finished Charles maybe I'll try the co-author of this story to see what they are up to over in America.

Guess Who, Haiku, Deanna Caswell. Cybils poetry book. I can see this working as a picture book, or even as an aid in explaining what haiku is, but it doesn't really satisfy my "read some poems" itch.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)Giant Pumpkin SuiteFirst ImpressionsVirtues of War (Virtues of War, #1)

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Episode 25. Daav is back. He's suspicious, as well he should be.

Great Pumpkin Suite, Melanie Hill. The kids, unsupervised, play with sharp tools.

First Impressions, Nora Roberts. 4/6. My audio Reading my Library Quest book. Maryland again! Vance must be incredibly hot because otherwise it's hard to see what Shane sees in him. Well, as the listener I know he's rich so she's probably OK.

Virtues of War, Bennett Coles. I have a feeling this strike team is going to have some problems.

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

KenilworthA Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenReading and Learning to Read

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2016!  51/107-ish. Working through elementary Graphic Novels and also back at the YAs. I'm not looking likely to finish by the end of the year.
  2. Reading My Library: Working on First Impressions for my next audio, and started Make Me Stay from the top of the next bookcase.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 36/51. I'm reading a much more solid Oklahoma, and a Cybils book is set in Connecticut.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Club!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I was dragging my feet on reading this week, so I gave up and just read and reread stuff that I knew I'd like from authors who I knew would deliver what I wanted. K J Charles, Courtney Milan, Lee Child, Norah McClintock -- all are authors that describe their contents on the tin and deliver what they promised. So I cheered my self up.

Friday was my friend's book club, which was a delight as always. These ladies are great. One jumped onto the plan to see THOR:RAGNAROK with me and my brother and son on Friday, and that was also a good time. And I got to zip around delivering people to places mostly on time, which makes me feel useful.

Currently Reading has wavered and stopped at 21. There are a few books I've been inching through that I need to finish up so I can get below 20 and stay there.

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 signing up there. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and my Cybils reading qualifies me. I'll go look to see what everyone else was reading at either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers.

This Week I started:

An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities, #2)An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities, #3)A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies, #2)The Third Degree (Chloe & Levesque, #1)
Flight of Magpies (A Charm of Magpies, #3)Jackdaw (The World of A Charm of Magpies)Make Me (Jack Reacher, #20)A Kiss For Midwinter (Brothers Sinister, #1.5)
The Keeper of the MistNothing to Lose (Jack Reacher, #12)Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American RightExpendable (League of Peoples, #1)

An Unnatural Vice, K J Charles. Ooo, one of my favorite tropes in a romance is where the problem is that one of the pair is a scoundrel. Not a "rake" but a crook or on the lam or, as in this case, a fraudulent spiritualist. Add in the rest of the friends crowd and this may be one of my favorites.

An Unsuitable Heir, K J Charles. This trilogy has the tightest over-all arc of the books of Charles that I've read so far. It will be fun to see if she sticks the landing.

A Case of Possession, K J Charles. When I go back to an author I go back with a vengeance.

The Third Degree, Norah McClintock. I'm trying to find more of her backlist.

A Flight of Magpies, K J Charles. More Charles.

Jackdaw, K J Charles. This one is set at the same time as Flight of Magpies but from a different perspective, so I'm going to read them in tandem.

Make Me, Lee Child. I'm not feeling like reading anything, so I'm going with random impulses. Also this may be set in Oklahoma.

A Kiss for Midwinter, Courtney Milan. Not only do I read anything I think of, I'm thinking of very short things.

The Keeper of the Mist, Rachel Neumeier. The next Cybils YA book.

Nothing to Lose, Lee Child. Another Jack Reacher story, this one hopefully in Colorado.

Strangers in Their Own Land, Arlie Hochschild. Apparently this book will explain how people can vote for Trump.

Expendable, James Alan Gardner.  For my Tuesday BookClub, which is also now a Minecraft club.

I finished:

An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities, #2)The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1)A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies, #2)An Unsuitable Heir (Sins of the Cities, #3)
A Kiss For Midwinter (Brothers Sinister, #1.5)Flight of Magpies (A Charm of Magpies, #3)Make Me (Jack Reacher, #20)Lust Killer

An Unnatural Vice, K J Charles. Just as fun as the first pages promised. The fogs of London are described in loathsome detail, and the tricks of communing with the dead also seem well researched. I like the dynamic between the characters, and the resolution of the conflict seemed fairly on and will lead into the next book well.

The Magpie Lord, K J Charles. It was fun to go back to Stephen and Lucien and the magic mixed in with a slightly earlier London.

A Case of Possession, K J Charles. These are short and fun and perfect for repelling a reading slump. The mix of interior and outer problems for our magician and the lord is finely balanced, along with a good mix of world building both fantastical and historical.

An Unsuitable Heir, K J Charles. This book was a bit distracted by having to wrap up the overarching mystery of the fog-killer, and the pairing didn't seem as strong, but the individuals were fascinating as they fit into their historical period as a one-armed man and a transgender acrobat. Or as the son of an anarchist and the lost heir to a title and estate.

A Kiss for Midwinter, Courtney Milan. I liked this but I couldn't really believe in the characters, so that limited its effectiveness for me. I'm also baffled on how it's a Brothers Sinister book but that's probably because it's been so long since I read the first ones. Again I had fun seeing the society from the viewpoints of Milan's always interesting people, but I didn't really buy their reactions to each other so it didn't really work as a romance for me.

A Flight of Magpies, K J Charles. It was interesting reading this alongside Jackdaw because you can really see the problems in the system with characters on both sides. I like how I can have such sympathy for people fighting between themselves. Stephen, Lucien, and Jonah had firmly held and completely incompatible ideas that had to be navigated.

Make Me, Lee Child. Jack Reacher and idle curiosity save the day. I find his relationships with women emotionally utterly opaque, but I guess he has a robust sex life? And he's probably good in bed, being athletic and all. On more important questions, they never give the state of the town he has to clean up, but the closest big city is Oklahoma City, so I'm counting this for Oklahoma. He goes there for supplies, anyway.

The Lust Killer, Ann Rule. Sarah Monette thinks this is a good example of true crime writing, and I agree that it gives a good sense of both the killer and the society he lives in (thirty years ago is a very different world). I also discovered that I'm far too squeamish to enjoy true crime stories.

I started 12 and finished 8. That's a bit of a backsliding for me.

Picture Books and Short Stories:
Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Lowriders in Space, #2)The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleig...

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, Cathy Camper. Cybils finalist. This elementary graphic novel mixes Spanish and English easily as the impala, mosquito and octopus search for their lost cat in their cool hot rod. I liked the red toned pictures and the easy friendship and trust among the three amigos.

"The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh," K J Charles. I believe I have now consumed all of Charles's published works, so I feel like a good completist. This one was a bit stressful for me, even though I knew it worked out well because I've read all the later novels.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #8)Giant Pumpkin SuiteFirst Impressions

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Episode 23. I've started listening on higher speed because Alexander isn't here to either complain or change the speed back. Nonfiction podcasts are always on the highest speed diction allows, but audio books seem like a performance and it seems rude to alter the speed. But not as rude as crashing while driving because I tried to mess with my phone.

Someplace to Be Fying, Charles de Lint. Men are stomping around at each other.

Great Pumpkin Suite, Melanie Hill. The kids play with sharp tools.

First Impressions, Nora Roberts. My audio Reading my Library Quest book. Maryland again! And I keep forgetting that Shane is the girl.

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

KenilworthA Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenReading and Learning to Read

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George. The stalled musician is still asking after his sister in the form of annoying pretend letters to his psychiatrist.

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2016!  49/107-ish. Working through elementary Graphic Novels and also back at the YAs. I'm not looking likely to finish by the end of the year.
  2. Reading My Library: Started First Impressions for my next audio, and picked up five more books from the next bookcase.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 36/51. I'm still doomed, even after picking up Oklahoma, Oregon, and something else that I forget.