Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Social Butterfly Me

I went to another convention this weekend -- Potlatch 2015. Another gathering of interesting people who like to read and talk about SF books. I admit that the presence of Ursula Le Guin's name on the membership list brought me in, and even though she wasn't actually there I had a good time.

Too bad it may have been the last Potlatch, at least for a while. I'm sorry I broke it!

I told several people about my book fast (no new books until April) and they sympathized but laughed at me anyway. I also mentioned marrying my brother, which is always fun. (I married him TO someone else, get your minds out of the interbreeding!)

I'm still reading far too many books (currently I have bookmarks in 23) but I have hopes to bring this down by April. That number is again trending in a lower direction. Also, the number of books out from the library is holding at twenty six, and that includes the ones I've finished and the ones I got for my kids to read. And the ones I recently got for various book clubs, of course, that being the only exemption to my NoNewBooks policy. Besides my Cybils exemption, of course. And any other exemption I find under my pillow.

So, what did I spend my time on this week? Again I kept a diary, and noted when I started or finished something.

Monday: Gabi: A Girl in Pieces, The October Country, Shiver, Out of the Easy
Tuesday: Gabi: A Girl in Pieces (completed), The October Country, Reading and Learning to Read,  Out of the Easy, Shiver
Wednesday: Shiver (completed)Out of the Easy, The October Country, Reading and Learning to Read, The Jury
Thursday: The Shadow ThroneDecider (started, completed)
Friday: The Shadow Throne (completed)Out of the EasyThe Jury, The Danger (started)Reading and Learning to Read, Slow Reading in a Hurried Age
Saturday: Slow Reading in a Hurried Age, The Danger, The Escape (completed), Hawk
Sunday: Hawk, The Danger, Slow Reading in a Hurried Age, Out of the Easy, The Jury

So I finished five books, and started two.  My reading tower moved in the correct direction! It also pleased me that several of the books I finished are ones that have been lurking in my reading bag for quite a while, and I enjoyed actually finishing them. Also, I noticed that when going to conventions, I do look at what my book will say about me, and then shrug and bring along the romance anyway, partly because it's great for reading in short bursts.

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Gabi, a Girl in PiecesOut of the EasyI had three young adult books in the bag this week, and their relationship with sex was a huge differentiator. Gabi worried about it, her mom raged against it, her culture tried to use it as a measure of a girl's worth, and it was a huge sign of her growing maturity that she managed to treat it as a normal part of life, something she could make choices about but that didn't summarize her. In Shiver, the boy worried about being menacing, but the girl never once thought of sex as something that defined her morally. It was a way to express feelings, not a way to measure her status in society. And in Out of the Easy, Josie is so traumatized by her hooker mother that it will take a lot to get her to experiment in any way; her best friend/possible boy friend is also clearly gay so he won't be pushing her too hard to start. At least she has her motorcycle friend waiting for her to figure stuff out. It's hard to see how things will work out well for Josie, so I'm reading that one very slowly.

The DangerThe Escape (The Survivors' Club #3) The books I pick up in quiet moments while waiting for a panel to start or the shopping line to move were The Escape, a relaxing romance about a member of a seemingly anachronistic PTSD support group who each manage to find love after the Napoleonic wars. That description sounds condescending, but I'm enjoying Balogh's stories in this series; the characters are interesting, face unusual challenges (I like the blind man whose wife builds him a race course) and treat their lovers with respect and intelligence. This are no tragic misunderstandings, no real tensions, but a gentle ride as the characters manage to sort out their often complicated lives. After that one finished, I picked up Hawk, the latest Steven Brust, both because it was more likely to start conversations at an SF convention and because I really need to return it to my brother. HawkIt amused me by wrapping up a plot line I was getting tired of (or did it...) and also with Brust's usual character and plot-related arabesques.  And finally, in preparation of March's book club, I've started reading through my Dick Francis books. Sadly I seem to have misplaced the actual club pick, but I'm enjoying the others as I wait for it to turn up.

Reading and Learning to ReadSlow Reading in a Hurried AgeTwo books about reading are dovetailing neatly -- Slow Reading in a Hurried Age is a love song to contemplative relationships with books, looking at how to engage your reading in a true discussion that enriches you and brings out the best in the book. It's how to read like a grown up, although it amuses me when Mikics assumes that the internet is what distracts me from reading; more commonly it's other books. At the same time I'm slowly inching through Reading and Learning to Read, a teacher's textbook about bringing children to literacy. I'm slowly being converted from my phonics ways, because it turns out that most of the whole language stuff involves things that I consider crucial to a happy childhood anyway, and the idea that learning to read is more akin to learning a language makes sense on many levels. The two books are approaching the pleasures of literacy from opposite directions, but affirming the same values.

Finally, I finished The Shadow Throne, but it left me a bit cold. I never figured out an age for the new King -- his voice seems very young, but that makes all the romance (not to mention the torture) deeply creepy.

I'm off to sign up to see what everyone else is reading lately at bookjourney's and Teach Mentor Texts lists.

2015 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2014: 2/81. Finished and really recommend Gabi.
  2. Where Am I Reading?: 10/51. No change. 
  3. Award Winning Book Challenge: Still got nothing.
  4. Alphabetically Inclined: E I J X Y Z still missing. And since library books don't count, this isn't moving much.
  5. TBR Challenge: 4 books, 17 library books.
  6. Best of the Best 2012: 52/25.  I am stalled.
  7. Reading My Library: Library temporarily closed, so on hiatus.

2014 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2013: 76/77.  One more to go! I'm still on it: Out of the Easy

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