Monday, February 15, 2016

Birthday Season Starts

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
The cake is not a lie, at least at this time of year. Rather the cake is a recurring theme at dinner, as we start the main family birthday grouping. After an initial bunch in February, we'll have a birthday each month through May.

My family, being nerds, uses binary numbers in the candles for your age, which makes 16 a big year but fifteen a very bright one. We have two fifteen year olds this year, so here's to brightly lit birthday pictures! Funnily, I don't usually give books for birthday presents. Traditionally I gave museum memberships, although as the kids grew older that transitioned to experiences (horseback riding, fake skydiving, etc.). Everyone's a teenager now, so it's probably time to just hand out cash.

I'm in a bit of a reading slump, as my book club book is grim (The Book Thief), the Cybils book stars a girl trying to recover from being a rotten kid (I hate reading about rotten people), my Library Quest book stars a woman devastated by the disappearance of her boyfriend (I find lost boyfriend plots deadly boring), and my fun book is in the middle of a battle (space battles are the worst parts of military space opera). Once I wade through all these I reward myself with a book about children's literature.

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.

This week I finished five books:

Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)Time and Again: Time Was\Times ChangeBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin, #3)The Wednesday Wars

*Radiance, Grace Draven. This was last month's Vaginal Fantasy pick. It's a fantasy romance about a cross-species marriage, fun enough that I recommended it to my Friday night book club.

Time and Again Nora Roberts. I got this book by accident (I meant to request Jack Finney's book from the library) but decided to read it anyway. It's an old fashioned romance by Roberts, which means there are strange beats to the sex in terms of how to negotiate consent, but still had her wit and sense of character and pacing. It was interesting to read a SF book out of context of other SF books -- this one is not in dialogue with most time travel stories.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Maggie Stiefvater. The author's razor grip of character as well as her firm belief in the magical aspects of the story keep me reading, although I think four books is a bit long for this story. On the other hand, Virginia! And I like how she negotiates teen love, social class, and religion, among many other aspects of her character's lives.

Mortal Heart, Robin LaFevers. Another Cybils Finalist. These assassin books feel almost oil smooth with the strong internal voice of the first person narrator, an unironic assassin nun of a pagan religion in historical France. My son highly recommends this series; he gobbled up all three when the second book was nominated.

 *Wednesday Wars, Gary D. Schmidt. This month's Friday book club choice. I'd read it when it came out, but enjoyed revisiting the dedicated teacher, scary rats, and emerging adult of a middle school protagonist. It makes me want to reread the followup story about Joey, and maybe the new book that peeks in on some of the same characters.

* Books I started this week. Most books tend last for weeks on my lists, because I have this habit of reading dozens of things at once. But occasionally I keep focus for several days on end.

I had to wait a few minutes in the library for a son to get back from his personal trainer, so I picked up a few picture books:
This Is the Rope: A Story From the Great MigrationPoolIrene's WishNever Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book: Book Care Guidelines from Library Secret Service

This Is the Rope, Jacqueline Woodson. A history of the Great Migration of African Americans north to American cities told through a rope frugally used and reused throughout a girl's life. Woodson explains that it's based on her family history, but the rope is a metaphor, which makes me like the book even more. It would be delightful to discuss that with a young child while reading the book together.

Pool, JiHyeon Lee. Soft, glowing pictures show the beautiful world beneath the teeming hordes in an overcrowded pool as discovered by two intrepid divers. I wished I'd read it with the eyes of a child, as I found myself wondering if the strange creatures were oxygen starved hallucinations of asphyxiating children. No, worrywort mom, they are metaphors of friendship.

Irene's Wish, Jerdine Nolan. Another layered story -- Irene accidentally wishes her father into a tree when he becomes almost lost to his family through overwork. His wife and children rally around, including him in their lives despite his vegetative state, but it just isn't the same. Can a real wish be recalled?

Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book, Karen Casale. A spoonful of goofyness helps the medicine of the proper care of a books go down in a fairly pleasant way. It doesn't transcend its nature, but does give a fun read as well as gentle nagging about how to treat a book.

I started but didn't finish only two books. That seems responsible, especially since I did finish three books that I didn't start this week:
The Book ThiefEvery Last Word

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak. Our Tuesday book club book. No one is loving it, so it may get tossed aside.

Every Last Word, Tamara Ireland Stone. The next Cybils YA fiction choice. I can already tell that my teenager will not pick this up. It's the story of a mean girl who seems to be realizing that cruelty and selfishness may keep her frenemies from turning on her but aren't a way to make true connections. Oh, she also suffers from OCD and is terrified that her unkind "friends" will find out.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Imperfect Sword (The Lost Stars, #3)A Stranger's Gift (Women of Pinecraft, #1)Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)CruxGod Help the ChildA Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature

Republic, Lindsay Buroker. I've gotten my teen interested in these books.

Hild, Nicola Griffith. I'd better speed this up; I'm not going to finish before the audio tapes are due. Hild is only eleven or so.

Imperfect Sword, Jack Campbell. Time for our heroes to be super clever. And even the home front is under attack -- this is a wide-ranging TRAP.

A Stranger's Gift, Anna Schmidt. He's attempting to straighten up. He's still getting the best end of the stick if he marries Hester, but I get the impression that is true for most marriages in this community.

Under a Graveyard Sky, John Ringo. Fun action scenes with sharks, sinking ships, and bullets to the hammerhead.

Crux, Ramez Naam. I read this while sorting my mail, because I have a bad habit of ignoring mail. It's not enticing me much -- over a hundred pages and it still fills like putting pieces in place before the story starts.

God Help the Child, Toni Morrison. The writing is delightful, and the slips between magic realism and stark reality powerful, but the whining about the lost boyfriend keeps throwing me out.

A Family of Readers, Roger Sutton & Martha Parravano. A book lover's look at children's literature, from infancy through teenagers. I'm currently in the independent reader section, and it's confirming my love of children's literature.

The next few books I'm not really reading, just dipping into between the books I'm trying to finish so that I can pretend that I'm going to read the books on my bookcases.

Rob Roy  A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)Midnight Crossroad (Midnigh...The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)Reading and Learning to Read

Rob Roy, Walter Scott.
A Traitor To Memory, Elizabeth George. Did the musician guy drown his baby sister?
Awakening to the Sacred, Lama Surya Das. Rebirth as a path to enlightenment.
Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris. They found the body.
Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca. Building readers through strength.
2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 8 out of 82. Finished Mortal Heart, started Every Last Word.
  2. Reading My Library: Still listening to Hild and reading God Help the Child.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 12/50.  The author of Parallax teaches in Massachusetts. Currently reading an Oregon, Florida, and Virginia books.
  4. TBR Triple Dog Dare. My totals are 21 library books, 5 personal library, 3 e-book.
  5. Full House Challenge: 23/25. I'm zooming! I need a memoir and a fossil from my TBR list.
  6. Library Challenge: I'm at 29 already -- Young Adult. I get my tax dollars worth from my library.
  7. Diversity Challenge 2016: Kidlit: 3/12. Adult lit: 4/12. So far I've mostly read about white people in February. Hmm.
  8. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  Still 5. I read nothing from my shelves this week.


Nise' said...

Happy Birthday to everyone! I've had Mortal Heart on the stacks for way too long, thanks for the reminder. Hope to get to it soon.

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Glad to read your thoughts about Toni Morrison's novel.
It took me awhile to get to the raven boys series - I think it was the second book that did it for me. :) Great to see the long list of books here again, as per usual - and the on-point one-liners.

Elizabeth said...

Wow....looks like a terrific week for you.

I hope the rest of the week is good for you too.

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