Monday, December 21, 2015

Count Down To Santa Times

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
The family has started gathering, which cuts down on my reading time, but I'm still planning on finishing this 50 State challenge. Also maybe reading some stuff for fun.  And maybe enabling some skiing, wrapping a few presents, and planning a giant family book club (The Martian), incorporating a viewing of The Force Awakens for a compare/contrast of movies set away from Earth.

The Book Date is collecting the roundups of what everyone is reading and talking about this week. I'll also look in with Teach Mentor Texts which does the same thing for kidlit, since I read a kid book.

This week I finished  books:
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan. I'm counting this history of the American Dustbowl of the 1930's as an Oklahoma book, because Oklahoma suffered a lot. It's well written, with a good mix of personal anecdotes with the more sweeping historical context. It's also immensely grim, as you ache for the hopeful characters setting up their farms and thereby dooming themselves, and then nature starts retaliating and never lets up. The diaries and personal stories stay optimistic for a long time, but the readers know that everyone is doomed.

Kepler's Dream, Juliet Bell. This kidlit set in New Mexico could have gone grim and tear-soaked, given that it starts with a kid whose divorced parents number a useless father and a mom dying of cancer. But it shies away from the tissue genre and instead gives quirky relatives, non-violent bad guys, and a realistic friendship that paves the way for the optimistic family cohesion. And the mom survives but stays away from the flaky dad, so happy endings all around (if that was a spoiler for you, this is probably not the genre you are looking for).

The Last Chance Christmas Ball, many. This is the new Christmas collection from the Word Wenches, and I found it rather disappointing. It was fun that so many of the stories linked together, having either a distant or direct connection to the Christmas Ball, but that meant that they tended to spoil each other. OK, it's not like I'm wondering whether the guy and girl will find true love in a romance story, but if one story ends with a peek at a couple dancing with True Love, starting the next one with that couple means I can't even pretend there is tension. On the other hand, the stories were heartwarming and mostly clever, so it was a gentle seasonal read.

Equipoise, Kim Fielding. This is a fanfiction writer who now writes original fiction, but only for the Kindle. So I started this one and forgot about it because I dislike my Kindle App, but I had to read something for a book club on that app and saw this. I should see if I can get her other stuff for my NOOK now. This is the end of a story about a somewhat reluctant magic user and his time-traveling boyfriend, and how they save their city.

And I started a new book:

Laura's Wolf, Lia Silver.  Since I've figured out how to use my Kindle app, I'll keep working my way through the books I've somehow acquired. This is the pseudonym of another author I usually enjoy, so I'm looking forward to her take on the paranormal romance genre. So far: werewolf!

Bookmarks Moved in books:

Under a Graveyard Sky (Blac...

Stakeout, Parnell Hall. New Jersey. New Jersey. I admit I'm not really enjoying this one. I think I had to learn to like the main character in the previous 18 books so I could tolerate his bumbling in this one. We spend a lot of time listening to people (his friends, wife, lawyer) yell at him for being stupid, and they have my full sympathy.

I Lived on Butterfly Hill, Marjorie Agosin. Maine. I hope. Storm clouds are gathering around Chile. My knowledge of the actual history is sketchy enough that I don't know any better than the child character what is about to happen, other than that I think it ends up with her in Maine.

Cobweb, Neil Stevenson & J. Frederick George. I'm beginning to see how the Iowa parts match up with the other spy stuff.

Brothel, Alexa Albert. Interestingly, this was name checked by Sarah Monette after I started it. It's rather obvious that legal prostitution is a much safer occupation for women than the illegal version. I'm enjoying this peek into a culture that I've never really imagined.

Wormwood, Susan Wittig Albert. I'm enjoying the modern parts more than the historical Shaker parts, which surprises me. Maybe because I'm confident that the modern people will solve the mystery and get back to their normal lives, but there are real problems looming for the Shakers.

Angel Among Us, Katy Munger. The nice pregnant teacher has disappeared, which is not good news as I think this book is a murder mystery.

The Heist, Janet Evanovich &  Lee Goldberg. I need to get in the right mind set for this; I keep cringing for the characters instead of laughing at their situations. It's slowing down my listening. A Reading my Library pick.

Under a Graveyard Sky, John Ringo. The weekly Baen podcast is serializing this, and we fell behind while listening to The Lord of Scoundrels. It was a good car read while driving around for holiday errands, though. We are almost caught up.

2015 Challenge Progress:
  1. Reading My Library: Working on a Large Print and the audio book.
  2. Where Am I Reading?: 45/51. Got Oklahoma and New Mexico. Still need:  New Jersey, Nevada, Maine, Kentucky, Iowa, and Delaware. I'm almost done with Nevada.
  3. Award Winning Book Challenge: Well, I didn't really review anything, but so far I've got 16 awards.
  4. Book Riot Read Harder: 23/24. I still need an African author. Still! Best would be an African author who wrote a book set in Maine.
  5. Alphabetically Inclined:  V X  Z still missing. 23/26.
  6. Best of the Best 2012: 52/25.  I am stalled. Maybe time to go back?
  7. Cybils 2014: Complete! I bought the last one as the libraries didn't seem to have it. WOOT!


Jane @ said...

"The Worst Hard Time" sounds fascinating - I watched the Ken Burns documentary "The Dust Bowl", and it was equal parts gripping and heart-breaking.

Elizabeth said...

ENJOY your books. I don't know any of them. I hope they are good.

Best of luck with your challenges. I rarely do challenges.

Have a wonderful week, and Merry Christmas.

Silver's Reviews
My It's Monday, What Are You Reading