Monday, April 27, 2015

Reading, Eyes Closed

This week has been a lot about the books I want to have read but don't particularly enjoy reading. In particular, the finalists for the Cybils YA Fiction have been particularly hard on me. I prefer books where I can like the protagonists, so last week's I'll Give You the Sun dragged. This week the problem was that I worried so much about the main characters. It felt like I wanted to turn my eyes away from the pages, which really slows down my reading speed.

Even the lighter books I turned to for relief had a lot of secondary embarrassment, so they weren't as much of a break as I hoped for. I think I'll go for some more action oriented light reading next week.

Although the BookJourney meme is still on hiatus, I can still check in with the kidlit crowd at Teach Mentor Texts since a lot of what I read is kidlit or YA. Even the mainstream book All the Light I Cannot See is about teenagers so far:

Monday: When I Was the Greatest, All the Light I Cannot See, The October CountryWildflower (completed), If I'm Jewish and You're Christian, What Are the Kids? (started)
Tuesday: Pointe (started), All the Light I Cannot See, Rob Roy, Boys Wanted
Wednesday: Pointe, All the Light I Cannot SeeWaiting For the Party (started)
Thursday: Pointe, All the Light I Cannot See, Waiting For the Party, Boys Wanted
Friday: Boys Wanted (completed), All the Light I Cannot See, Lost Enchantment
Saturday: Pointe, The October Country, All the Light I Cannot See, Yonder Comes the Other End of Time
Sunday: Pointe (completed), The October Country, Reading and Learning to ReadMaddAddam (started), All the Light I Cannot See

Also finished: Forget-Me-Nots

Started four, finished three, plus the book of poetry I've been reading before falling asleep.

When I Was the GreatestPointeI read two Cybils books, because one was stolen by my eighth grader who forgot that he needed a book to read. So I read that one until the scene where I'm pretty sure things were going to go very badly, and then switched to Pointe, where things were dicey from the start. It's interesting to chart the books I'm sensitive to, because them correspond very closely to my own children. A few years ago it was hard for me to read about abused children. Now it's hard for me to read about teenagers tearing apart their lives. Pointe had a very believable narrator who has severe emotional problems as well as astonishing talent and potential. Watching her lie to herself about her past and what has been done to her, and what she does to herself in reaction, was excruciating. The last few chapters fixed many things, but they didn't ring as true as the previous pages describing the problems.

WildflowerBoys WantedAll the Light We Cannot SeeThe books I finished in relief were much less traumatic. Bird's struggles to balance her crush with her promising music career were gentle and optimistic, while the inevitable date of the two narrators of Boys Wanted kept the suspense low while the humor bubbled away. I'm still not sure that the math worked out -- the number of boys who left was not actually that large, but the book was more about gentle exaggeration so I didn't worry my little head about it.

MaddAddam (MaddAddam, #3)Yonder Comes The Other End of TimeI got All the Light We Cannot See back from the library, but again I expect bad stuff to happen in any book about World War II, so this one is not very relaxing either. I do love the quiet, evocative language that quickly evokes each character in their own tiny chapters. I made it through another chapter or so of Suzanne Elgin's book (remembering with sorry her recent death), but this one is a bit too much bad bureaucrats versus virtuous quirky types for me. And I started Atwood's MaddAddam, which I expect to enjoy but not be as amazed at as she expects, simply because I've read so much science fiction that has already thought about the situations she presents.

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by HeartFinally, in honor of April being poetry month I picked up Forget-Me-Nots from a library display. This is a collection of poems to learn by heart, which is a hobby of mine. Most of them did not strike me as ones I wanted to give permanent brain space to, however, and of the ones I liked, I had already memorized most of them. So at least it did not add to my to-do list! They were fun to read before falling asleep, though.

2015 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2014: 8/81. Wow, I'm going very slowly. I need to get the ninth back from my son.
  2. Where Am I Reading?: 21/51.  Illinois, Wisconsin, Tennessee! Woot! I'm ahead for the year, for the next few days.
  3. Award Winning Book Challenge: I have apparently stopped reviewing books. But I've ticked off seven different awards. 
  4. Full House Challenge: 23/25. I very choosy about the "keeper" square. And the "like to visit" one.
  5. Book Riot Read Harder: 13/24. I've done the easy ones.
  6. Alphabetically Inclined:  I V X Y Z still missing. 21/26
  7. Best of the Best 2012: 52/25.  I am stalled.
  8. Reading My Library: Library temporarily closed, so on hiatus.


Myra Garces Bacsal said...

I always get surprised when people reference Atwood as a science fiction novelist - I first knew of her as a poet "Variations on the Word Love" - and fell in love with her verse. Then I discovered Cat's Eye, Alias Grace, before The Handmaid Tale. I haven't read any of her hardcore science fiction novels yet, so that's something to look forward to. Will keep an eye out on the title you shared here.

Ms. Yingling said...

So much SAD! I'm with you- not my favorite. Try Barry's The Worst Class Trip Ever; your 8th grader might like it. Just fun. For some reason, I really liked Nielsen's We Are All Made of Molecules, too. Bring on more happy!