Monday, February 28, 2011

Music For the Deaf: Five Flavors of Dumb

I remembered that Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John had won an award, and after reading this delightful YA novel about the novice manager of a high school rock band I went looking to see which award. I checked the Cybils (blogger awards) and then the ALA lists of YA book winners (Printz and Alex awards) but didn't find it, and finally found the Schneider award for a book about the disability experience, which is a bit ironic in that the main character, Piper, is Deaf but certainly doesn't consider herself disabled. But I would have nominated it for all of the above.

Anyway, I loved the book. I liked the family dynamics, with the family starting off rather disconnected by a series of shocks, including the father's unemployment and the baby's expensive operation to allow her to hear, paid for (surprise!) with the money from Piper's college fund. So Piper is intrigued by the idea of earning money by managing a band, which propels her into another community -- the three (soon five) members of Dumb, recent winners of Seattle's Teen Battle of the Bands. Piper narrates the story, which often had me laughing out loud or scanning ahead to see how things ended up. I particularly liked Piper's relationship with her younger brother Finn, who manages to save her band many times over the course of the book.

The book is set in Seattle, so I had fun recognizing places, especially Jimi Hendrix's burial spot, which is just up the road from my house. I found this book through Becky's Book Reviews, which makes it a challenge book! Woot! A

It's Monday! What Am I Reading?

This is probably a bad time to start this weekly check, because I just got back from vacation.  I brought a ton of books along, and let myself snack on anything I wanted, so now I am nibbling away at a small pile of books.  Oh well, I'll catch up by the next vacation.  This meme is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.

In general I'm trying to whittle down my currently-reading pile, although it's hard to see that right now.  I like to read a library book, a book from my TBR shelves, and a social book (for book club or a challenge or something).  Then I'll be working on anything new I've purchased, as well as a current interest (right now it's all things Buffy).  So, that's my excuses.

Books I completed:
  • Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher, by Wendelyn Van Draanen
  • Bobby Vs Girls (Accidentally), Lisa Yee
  • Trust Me on This, Jennifer Crusie
  • Alien Tango, Gini Koch
  • The Magnificent 12: The Call, Michael Grant
Bookmarks still in:
  • Eli the Good, by Silas House (ARC I got in the mail, so top of my TBR pile)
  • Working Words, by M.L. Liebler (for Wisconsin challenge)
  • Guardian of the Dead, Karen Healey (for Cybils challenge, moved up because it is due)
  • Territory, Emma Bull (vacation book)
  • Hammered, Elizabeth Bear (vacation book)
  • Bad Prince Charlie, John Moore (vacation book)
  • Interior Life, Katherine Blake (vacation book)
  • Glass Harmonica, Louise Marley (vacation book)
  • The Rogue's Return, Jo Beverly (vacation book)
  • The Hob's Bargain, Patricia Briggs (vacation book)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Panel to Panel, Scott Allie (Buffy book)
I actually have bookmarks in a few other books, but I'm not actively reading them.

I put aside two books because I realized that I don't actually want to read them:
  • Sinful in Satin, by Madelyn Hunter, because I read the end on the plane and didn't care enough about the characters to see how they got there
  • Crossfire, by Francis (father and/or son, I'm not sure) because I'm just not in the mood
In other challenge news, I've read 11 Cybils books, started my first Michigan book, read a few more Sci-Fi books, and checked off a few more states for Where Am I Reading.  No names, and I'm trying to decide if some books are off-kilter enough for 20/11,

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Issue Book: Sold

    It was perhaps unfortunate that I read (via Rethinking Schools: Save the Muslim Girl! article right before reading Patricia McCormick's Sold.  The article talks about some of the problems with having all portrayals of Muslim girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan come from white women concerned with the oppression and degradation forced upon girls by their religion and culture. It's not a complete picture, and it encourages complacency about the status of women in the author's own culture.

    Sold is about an oppressed and degraded Nepalese girl, and is written by a white woman.  It even has the victimizing picture of part of a girl's face, covered by a veil, as the cover.  The girl's step-father sells her into sexual slavery (possibly by accident) with the collusion of her willfully stupid mother, and then only the intercession of helpful Americans gives her a chance of rescue.  So it hits a lot of the warning notes sounded in the article.  Of course, it also appears to be a realistic account of things that have actually happened to girls in Lakshmi's situation.

    For me personally, the short, blank-verse style paragraphs made Lakshmi seemed naive and slow, beyond what I'd expect from a thirteen year old.  Her mother seemed unreasonably stupid in supporting the evil step-father, explicitly telling her daughter that even a worthless man was better than no man but never giving any hints as to why.  I found myself wishing for a nonfiction version, so that I would know whether the foolishness was imposed by the author or just a part of our narrator.   But really I just tend to dislike verse novels in general, so I'm probably not the best reader for this book.

    McCormick does vividly show the horrors of the situation; Laksmi's earlier, happier life and then the almost unremitting misery of the prostitution industry and how hopeless the women involved are.  It's an important issue, and this books helps people realize that it's a modern problem.  B-

    Book Club Fun: Well-Schooled in Murder

    Our book club is making a deliberate effort to read a wide variety of books this year, and we started out with a mystery.  (January is always a movie, which doesn't really count.)  To support me in my oddball preference of not starting a series with the first book, we choose Elizabeth George's 3rd book, Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley). My theory on long series is that if the author can't hook me with a well-written middle book, it's probably not worth signing up for thousands of pages worth of a story.

    George passes the test handily.  I forgot that it wasn't the first book;  all the characters were in the middle of their lives but in a good way, with enough information that I cared about where they were but didn't feel I had missed part of the story.  Of course, the concentration was on the current mystery, with spot lights on each passing character as they come under the scrutiny of Our Detectives, Lynley and Havers.  Although the writing tried to capture me, I found myself resisting because of the nature of the crime -- as the parent of a twelve-year-old boy, I find books about the torture and murder of twelve-year-old boys a bit hard to stomach.  I handle death scenes much better if I don't over-identify.  So I'll probably try some more George, but avoid the ones where she kills off my family members.  Most of the club hadn't finished the book, but we managed to talk about the various forms of guilt illustrated, from the child pornography user to the woman miscarrying and blaming her childhood abortion.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Poetry Friday: Borrowed Names

    I don't read many poetry books, but the Cybils challenge will have me churning through a whole list.  This will give me my only opportunities to chime in on Poetry Fridays, although I suspect I'll be grumpy about most of it.

    My first taste was Borrowed names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters, by Jeannine Atkins.  All three women were born in 1867, a fact that surprised me because I had associated Laura Ingalls with much more ancient times, although if I had paid attention I would have recognized historical events that identified things more precisely.  To put me in my place, I asked my niece when she thought the Little House books were set; she guessed the 1950's.  You know, back when Gramma was single and dinosaurs roamed the earth.

    The book was great; it was fascinating to see the world through the daughters of these famous women, but I didn't feel the poems added much to the book.  Many of them felt more like prose with short lines; only a few had that elusive sense of poetry.  I also was frustrated sometimes by not knowing what was real and what was imagined by Atkins.   I was left with a desire to know more about all six women, mothers and daughters, but without adding anything new to my poetry notebook.  C+  (although I would have given it a B+ as a work of nonfiction instead of poetry)

    My definition of poetry comes from a poem by Eleanor Farjeon, which is in my notebook:

    What is Poetry? Who Knows?

    Not a rose, but the scent of the rose;
    Not the sky, but the light in the sky;
    Not the fly, but the gleam of the fly;
    Not the sea, but the sound of the sea;
    Not myself, but what makes me
    See, hear, and feel something that prose
    Cannot: and what it is, who knows?
    (Eleanor Farjeon)

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Time is Relative: I Can Read Anything I Want

    My attempt to get a grip on my library TBR pile had a bit of a set-back.  Not a major one, since most of these books are quick reads that I probably can read in the next few weeks.  Heck, many of them are picture books, which don't even take time to read.  Yes, this is not a problem for me at all.  But I have officially given up on the age limit thing I've been babbling about this year.

    The Cybils challenge keeps a lot of books heading my way.  By the way, the winners have been announced!  I only glanced at them so that I'm not unduly influenced.  Books I got for that include:
    • Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga.  Graphic novel winner, and really neat hyperlinked-paper concept.
    • Mercury, by Hope Larson.  YA graphic novel.
    • Belly Up, by Stuart Gibbs.  Any book with a hippopotamus on the cover appeals to me. (Snatched by the fourth grader.)
    Books that I ordered just because I like 'em:
    • Cagebird, by Karin Lowachee.  Sequel to Burndive, and also completes the series (so far)
    • Everytime a Rainbow Dies, by Rita Williams-Garcia.  From my online TBR list.
    • Alien Tango, by Gini Koch.  Because her first book was fun.
    • Clementine, Friend of the Week, by Sara Pennypacker.  Because Clementine books all rock.
    • The High King of Montival, by S.M. Stirling.  Because I've read all the other books.  I seem to have jumped about twenty five places on the hold list for this one; I really wasn't expecting it for several weeks.
    • Unshapely Things, Mark Del Franco.  Because a friend recommended it.
    • Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief (audio).  To evaluate for car trip purposes.
    I also picked up some picture books as part of my Read-the-library mission.  So far several have proved to be big hits:
    • Furious George Goes Bananas.  A cruel parody of the monkey book.  Four 
    • Little Black Crow.  X picked this to read in the car.
    • Frankenstein Takes the Cake.  X also picked this one, but was horribly disillusioned to find it was poetry.  My little philistine.
    • And Tango Made Three.  I have three kids are trying to figure out why the book gets banned.  One suggestion is that it depicts a penguin birth.
    • Sergio Makes a Splash.  Another penguin book to keep Tango company.
    • The Biggest Frog in Australia.  X and I have fond memories of another Tiddilik book.
    • Rain School.  Nice cover.
    • Tarzan.  I have a Xan of my own, so I have a fondness for the Tar version.
    • Give a Goat.  I like goat books, probably because of my sons' Greek heritage.
    • Baloney (Henry P).  I like Scieszka.
    And a handful of CDs, including a Warren Zevon and Kidz Bop 8.  I do like listening to my fourth graders discuss what situations would require lawyers, guns and money, and what is the proper order in which to apply these saving materials.  The conversation with the second grader about how Roland manages without his head was also priceless.  I mean, how does he eat?

    I should go link everything, but honestly I don't think anyone cares and I'm tired.  Even putting the pictures in seems to much work today; they should appear when I review the books.  See how confident I am?

    Library Elf says I now have 71 things checked out, so I sure hope I have my mother's age wrong.  Maybe I should go with my grandmother?  Worryingly, that includes a CD we thought we turned in.  It's either somewhere in the car or the library missed it.  I'll go sign up for Library Loot at the Captive Reader, although this page without pictures is a sad addition.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Whiny Boy Grows up: Burndive

    Karin Lowachee's second book in her Warchild universe, Burndive, moves back from the frontier to focus on the son of Captain Azarcon.  His actual son with his wife, not any of the men or boys serving him on his battle ship that he treats with paternalistic concern.  Ryan has only rarely seen his father, with the absences from regular deployments exaggerated by the relativistic effects of the speed the space ships travel.

    Ryan, recently named the #1 Hot Bachelor of his affluent space station, has always lived as a celebrity child.  His mother's family prominence in politics goes back generations, and his father is the often controversial and always newsworthy Captain Azarcon, adopted son of another politically important military family.  Ryan is a mess.  Already overwhelmed by the high and varied standards set by his relatives, his psyche is further depleted by the terrorist murders he saw on Earth and by the conflicting loyalties he feels when his bodyguard has an affair with his mother.  Eighteen, whiny, experimenting with drugs, Ryan's head is a claustrophobic place to be, even before his father swoops in to take him on-board after pirates target Azarcon's family in reaction to the events in Warchild.

    Lowachee does a good job showing characters with different agendas and assumptions, with the mistakes they make because of misinformation and personal weaknesses.  At times it's hard to stay so close inside Ryan's viewpoint because of the excellent characterization.  Seeing characters from the earlier book is fun, since Ryan's evaluations come from such a different place than Jos's.  It's a gritty space opera, with much more emphasis on the damage war causes to people than on the adventure and space lasers. A-

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Another Challenge: Take a Chance

    This is a challenge that I have to actually attend to, unlike most of the other ones I sign up for.  I figure I'll try for a book a month, although with my history I'll probably spend December frantically racing through the categories.  Anyway, The Take a Chance Challenge is all about trying out new ways of finding books, with ten methods ranging from various book-picking web sites to random walks in the library.  Thanks, Jenners, for setting up this excuse to read more books!

    I'm going to try #2 first; I think I have at least two family members reading this blog, so if one of them could please comment with a book suggestion, I can get started.  This is a TEST.

    The ten categories are:
    1. Staff Member’s Choice: Go to a bookstore or library that has a “Staff Picks” section. Read one of the picks from that section.  Our library has a hot picks section out front, but I'm not sure if it is Staff Picks or just new books.  I'll look closer tomorrow.
      • The Snow Goose, Paul Gallico.  This ended up being a family book club selection.
    2. Loved One’s Choice: Ask a loved one to pick a book for you to read.  See above.  This will be my February book. Actually I ended up with three books, so I guess I'll overachieve.
    3. Blogger’s Choice: Find a “Best Books Read” post from a favorite blogger. Read a book from their list.  This would have been good to do in January, when everyone posted their lists.  I guess I'll do some archive diving
      • From Jenny's Books: Curse of the Wolf Girl.  I didn't love it as much as she did, but mainly because it hit hard against a few personal pet peeves.
    4. Critic's Choice: Find a “Best of the Year” list from a magazine, newspaper or professional critic. 
      • Room, by Emma Donoghue (Economist pick from 2010)
    5. Blurb Book: Find a book that has a blurb on it from another author. Read a book by the author that wrote the blurb.  Clearly this should be a book I love.  Hmm. Jack Campbell blurbs Elizabeth Moon.  Got it!  He has a new book coming out at the end of April.
    6. Book Seer Pick: Go to The Book Seer and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.  This is a bit risky, since the book seer doesn't suggest much genre reading.  On the other hand, it will double up one of my 20/11 challenge picks.  I gamed it a bit by waiting till I finished a Jennifer Crusie book, but I came out with Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis.
    7. What Should I Read Next Pick : Go to What Should I Read Next and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.  Never tried this before. I put in Jo Walton as an author I liked, and then picked Tooth and Claw as the book I particularly liked. The top recommendation was The Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz, which I'm actually planning to read anyway, so perfect.  And very odd.
    8. Which Book Pick: Go to Which Book and use the software to generate a list of books. Read a book from that list.  Who knew there were so many options for volition-less people to select their next book?
    9. LibraryThing Pick: Go to LibraryThing’s Zeitgeist page. Look at the lists for 25 Most Reviewed Books or Top Books and pick a book you’ve never read. Read the book.  Hmm, I glanced at the Top Books while making the link, and I've read them all, except the two I tried and DNF'ed.  
    10. Pick A Method: Pick a method for finding a book from the choices listed below (used in previous versions of the challenge): 1) Random Book Selection.  2) Public Spying.  3) Random Bestseller.  I'll probably do the library random book selection, since I tend to do that anyway.
      • Rosa's Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights, Jo. S. Kittinger

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Good Kids: Because of Mr. Terupt

    I like to think that most kids are basically good people, and it's nice to see that Rob Buyea, the author of Because of Mr. Terupt, agrees.  The story of a rough year for a fifth grade class is told by seven kids, each of whom get their own font for the chapter headings.  The kids are distinct and realistic, although each has an easy label to hide behind (new kid, brain, goof-off, etc.).

    They are dealing with kid-sized problems -- girl wars, divorced parents, sad home lives, when Tragedy Strikes, which is something I always liked in my books as a kid.  The kids manage to continue to deal with their kid-sized problems even as they struggle with The Tragedy, in a realistic if somewhat rose-colored way.  Everyone's life is a bit better by the end of the book, which has the adult cynic in me snarking but would have pleased me in my happier kid days.

    I've got A interested in reading this book, which is a first for my Cybil's take-homes so far -- she somehow thinks the Fantasy and SF books are for boys.  Unfortunately the library wants it back, so I can't offer it to the boys.  It will be interesting to get her views on it.  And I'm glad to check off another state for my Where I'm Reading Challenge.  B+

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Scattered Fire: Shotgun Sorceress

    The last book club hosted by Dirty Sexy Books passed without a comment by me, but not because I didn't read the book. The library gave up Shotgun Sorceress by Lucy A. Snyder just in time. The problem was I didn't really have anything to say.

    I wasn't a huge fan of the first book, but I didn't dislike it enough to refuse the second. Unfortunately, most of my issues with the first book remained -- I found the love interest extremely creepy, the character more mouthy than witty, and the book lurched about awkwardly. The plot would spin wheels for pages, then zoom off in a completely new direction, then spin some more. The main characters mostly reacted to the bad guy's actions with very little agency. For goodness sake, our hero Jessie spends a great deal of the second half of the book tied up by her friends! You can't get much less action that. (OK, she goes on astral journeys while tied up. But I was still croggled).

    But there were some interesting ideas and twists, so I didn't mind reading it.  But there wasn't a lot to say. And the author was there, so I felt bad complaining.  B-

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Strict Discipline on Library Day

    That's what I'm all about!  Unfortunately, I'm not so much with the discipline during the week while merrily ordering up books on hold, so I think I've slipped a bit from my age goal.  Maybe my goal should be to have fewer items than my mother's age...

    I put things on hold either because I see them and want to read them, or because of a challenge or list that I am happily working my way along.  Of course, many of my challenges I am trying to complete by serendipity, so I can't really blame them for my selections.  For challenges, I got:
    • Image of itemAnts, by Melissa Stewart.  Another Cybils book.
    • Image of itemChalk, by Bill Thomson.  Cybils picture book.
    Then there were four more books on my hold shelf:

    And I let A pick 4 CDs while I retrieved Kidz Bop #7.  I'm proud to say I recognized at least two songs.

    So, the library says I now have 53 things checked out.  Which is still over my age, dang nab it.  Maybe I should move to Venus.  Library Loot this week is at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader, and I'm off to sign up and see what everyone else got.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Spooky: Ghostopolis

    GhostopolisI'm still chugging down my list of Cybils nominees (hey, it it vaguely possible that I'll read one book from each category before they announce the winners!), and the latest up was the YA graphic nominee, Ghostopolis, by Doug TenNaple. A young boy who looks about twelve gets sucked into the land of the ghosts, and the ghost hunter who accidentally sent him there goes after him.

    Garth meets up with his grandfather, Benedict Arnold, the ghost hunter, a bone horse, and other assorted allies and enemies. There are various themes of fatherhood, forgiveness, and renewal running around, but I was distracted by the harsh images. I'm not used to comics being so, um, ugly. It made me feel old. Also, the ending was a dorothy-in-oz click your red ruby slippers kind of thing, which made me feel old AND grumpy.

    On the plus side, my 6th grader inhaled it in one long slurp.  C+

    X: Confusing. When did the kid learn to use plasma? He just apparently could use plasma. What does he use to see out of?

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Inadvertently Challenged Again: What's In a Name?

    Again I'm signing up for a challenge that I hope does not involve any actual effort on my part.  I just like lists, especially checking things off them.  The What's in a Name challenge gives me a fun, arbitrary list, and one I hope just gets completed while I'm reading anyhow.  Why, I've probably practically finished the whole thing already!  Let's see what the six categories are this year:
    1. A book with a number in the title: First to Die, Seven Up, Thirteen Reasons Why
    2. A book with jewelry or a gem in the title: Diamond Ruby, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Opal Deception
      • Hmm.  I got nothing. (HA! Fixed that!)
    3. A book with a size in the title: Wide Sargasso Sea, Small Wars, Little Bee
    4. A book with travel or movement in the title: Dead Witch Walking, Crawling with Zombies, Time Traveler's Wife
    5. A book with evil in the title: Bad Marie, Fallen, Wicked Love
      • AHA! A better entry. Bad Prince Charlie, by John Moore
      • AHA!  A real entry!  Secrets of the Demon, by Diana Rowland.
      • I can't believe I'm empty here.  I read vampire books, for gosh sakes.  Troubled? dark? grey? all lame.  
      • Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty, by Nick Bruel.  Although I believe this is an early reader book, so I may be cheating.
    6. A book with a life stage in the title: No Country for Old Men, Brideshead Revisited, Bog Child
    Well, two (FOUR) out of six ain't bad, as the song would have said if it were talking about my progress on this challenge so far.  Hopefully the others will fall out of my reading tree without too much shaking.

    In other challenge news, I've got three states done, 3/20 for 20/11, I've read four SF books, still have the Michigan book on the TBR shelf,  and read 7 Cybils.  No disasters yet.

    Fly Guy and Fly Girl

    We've been fans of Tedd Arnold's Fly Guy from the start, especially X and me. Now we've introduced the budding reading N to the cult, so a new book is always a treat. But Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl isn't one of my favorites.

    Fly Guy meets super-woman Fly Girl, and they immediate imagine the whole jumping rope rhyme -- first comes love, then comes marriage, and before they can say MUZZLE-WUZZLE they've got themselves shacked up together. But then they realize that would mean leaving their beloved people, so they quickly decide to just be friends.

    But why would two little kids want to go all romantic about each other? Of course, Fly Guy is probably a fully functional adult insect, but let's not go there because the path of realism in Fly Guy books leads to madness. Also, any preschooler could tell you that if you are worried about missing your parents after you get married, just don't leave home! You and your beloved can live under the dining table or something. And why does Fly Girl get to be better at everything than my hero Fly Guy?

    The illustrations still keep the flies buzzing, with lots of tricks and super-gross menu items. All the kids liked it, but I think it rests too heavily on the rest of the series. As a stand-alone, it's good but not great. B-

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Athena: The Grey-Eyed Goddes

    With two Greek sons and a closet full of memories of Greece and Greek islands and temples, I'm inclined to give the middle-school graphic novel Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess (Olympians) a thumbs up for the cover alone. I didn't get to it until late because both kids took it independently and read it, which is another plus. They've read a bunch of the other Cybils, but usually I'm offering. Sometimes pushing. This one they grabbed on their own.

    And I see why. George O'Connor's pictures are bright and vivid, with several stories centered around Athena's aegis. I hadn't heard of Athena's mother, Metis, and I wonder where that part came from (Zeus ate her, that's how Athena was born inside him). Then the story of the name Pallas Athena, and stories of war and battle and craftsmanship. The appendixes recommend further reading and discuss the origins of the myths, and the family tree in the front helped keep all the family connections straight. A

    Comments from my peanut gallery:
    P: It was aimed at middle school but was still good for fourth graders like me. Good for boys and girls. Made you want to finish it.
    X: Recommended.  Good for kids from 8-12, both boys and girls.  Greek mythology is good stuff.

    By the Numbers: Kalayna Price

    Cover for GRAVE WITCH

    Urban fantasy books tend to follow a formula -- girl with special powers lives a bit on the edge with the help of her quirky friends, gets in over her head, has at least two possible boy friends, also with special powers, but doesn't commit to one by the end of the first book.  I think Patricia Briggs even talks about her publishers specifying bits of this.  Of course, there are exceptions (I'm looking at you, Harry Connolly, and where is your next book, eh?) but that's the basic pattern.

    Kalayna Price hits all the notes with Grave Witch (Alex Craft, Book 1), and it makes for a fun, swift read that delivers what it promises.  Alex Craft is that rare type of witch who can speak with shades and sometimes ghosts (there's a difference, and it matters).  There's a chance that shades will be allowed to speak on the witness stand, which would make for a lot more contracts for her, but in the meantime she's living a hand-to-mouth existence, glad that the faerie who is her landlord sometimes gives her some extra time with the rent.  Death drops by sometimes for coffee, as he has since she was a kid, but she's still shocked the day he pushes her out of the way of a bullet.  And the new cop with long blond hair didn't see it, so he thinks she set the whole thing up.  Oh, and he seems to think she's hot, too.

    OK, plot, now go!  Mix in a secret dad with secrets and a political weak spot, a missing best friend, evil types with grandiose plans involving murders and eclipses, and Price keeps things ticking along until the last page.  Nothing soul-stirring, but a fun way to avoid my run on a drizzly Sunday afternoon.  B-

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Guilty Eyes Have Got No Rhythm

    Blah blah blah age limits.  Clearly a bad idea whose time has passed under the bridge and over the hill.  I mean, it's not like I'm going crazy or anything.  Music is important, and just because I'm checking out more than I'm returning doesn't mean that there is a problem here.  It's a slow trend, which is almost the same as a reversing trend.  And soon I'll start turning the music back in, and everything will be fine.

    I barely even picked up my holds because of an unfortunate incident involving a foot impacting other people that not even loud shouts of SORRY could expunge, so we had a hasty exit that precluded extensive browsing.  It's very handy that the CDs are kept next to the hold shelf, indeed.

    On hold was:
    And not technically on hold (except the kidz bop) but practically sitting up and asking me to check them out:
    • Image of itemTrust Me On This, Jennifer Crusie. From the top picks, and really, this is for my sister. I'm sure she'll let me read it, though.
    • Image of itemOnce Upon a Royal Superbaby, from the new picture book sections.
    • Image of itemArt and Max, also new picture book.  
    • Image of itemKidz Bop 6. I recognize none of these songs. This was during my kids music and classical period.
    Turning around, I grabbed 4 CDs from the middle shelf of the music section, so that we are listening to:
    There will not be nearly as much singing-along in the car this week, I tell you.

    Which brings my total to 48, which is actually the same number as last week. I must have turned in more than I remembered.  But at least one book isn't showing up on my list; I think the librarian forgot to scan it.  Or maybe she just likes me.  X is also over his limit, but he has the excuse that I made him check out a bunch of music for me.  The library loot button is at Clare's at The Captive Reader this week; I'll go sign in.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Tale of Tails: A Beach Tail

    Coming SoonWe gave A Beach Tail the roughest test of any of our Cybil's nominees. I read it, the boys read it, and then X took it along to read to first graders for his middle school field trip. Karen Lynn Williams wrote this delicate book about a boy and his stick on the beach, and Floyd Cooper provided the gentle, expressive illustrations. We all liked it, but no one really loved it.

    I think my family all leans towards bolder, more exciting pictures, so we are a hard audience. My favorite page was the turn-around, when Gregory realizes how far he's gone and his face shifts from interested and slightly sneaking adventuring to worry. The fourth grader's favorite was when Gregory retraces his steps past the nickname he drew in the sand -- G E R G. X liked the dad on the beach, and he liked my theory that the dad was secretly shadowing the little boy. The first graders seemed to like it, but didn't linger.

    So, a cute book, but one I doubt we would return to often, even if the boys were in the right age group.  B-